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ST. John's sauARE. 





" On me dit que pourvu que je ne parle ni de I'autorite, ni du culte, ni de la 
politique, ni de la morale, ni des gens en place, ni de I'opera, ni des autres 
spectacles, ni de personne qui tienne a quelqne chose, je puis tout imprimer 
librement." — Mariage de Figaro. 









S ton] ngton— Great Falls of the Potomac 1 


Small Landed Proprietors — Slavery 8 


Fruits and Flowers of Maryland and Virginia—Copper-head 
Snake — Insects — Elections 26 


Journey to Philadelphia— Chesapeak and Delaware Canal- 
City of Philadelphia— Miss Wright's Lecture 38 


Washington Square-American Beauty— Gallery of Fine 
Arts— Antiques— Theatres— Museum 47 

VOL. II. g 




Quakers — Presbyterians — Itinerant Methodist Preacher — 
Market — Influence of Females in Society GO 


Return to Stonington — Thunder-storm — Emigrants — Illness 
— Alexandria 82 


American Cooking — Evening Parties — Dress — Sleighing — 
Money-getting Habits— Tax-Gatherer's Notice — Indian 
Summer — Anecdote of the Duke of Saxe-Weimar 97 


Literature — Extracts — Fine Arts — Education 110 


Journey to New York — Delaware River — Stage-coach — City 
of New York — Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies — 
Theatres — Public Garden — Churches — Morris Canal — 
Fashions — Carriages 151 


Reception of Captain Basil Hall's Book in the United States 184 


Journey to Niagara — Hudson — ^West Point — Hyde Park — 
Albany — Yankees — Trenton Falls — Rochester — Genesee 
Falls— Lockport 202 




Niagara-Arrival at Forsythes-First sight of the Falls- 
Goat Island-The Rapids-Buffalo-Lake Erie-Canan- 
daigna— Stage-coach Adventures 9.^ , 


Return to New York— Conclusion . . . 





Stonington — Great Falls of the Potomac. 

The greatest pleasure I had promised myself in 
visiting Washington was the seeing a very old 
friend, who had left England many years ago, and 
married in America ; she was now a widow, and, 
as I believed, settled in Washington. I soon had 
the mortification of finding that she was not in the 
city ; but ere long I learnt that her residence was 
not more than ten miles from it. We speedily 
met, and it was settled that we should pass the 
summer with her in Maryland, and after a month 
devoted to Washington, we left it for Stonington. 

We arrived there the beginning of May, and the 
kindness of our reception, the interest we felt in 



becoming acquainted with the family of my friend, 
the extreme beauty of the surrounding country, 
and the lovely season, altogether, made our stay 
there a period of great enjoyment. 

I wonder not that the first settlers in Virginia, 
with the bold Captain Smith of chivalrous me- 
mory at their head, should have fought so stoutly 
to dispossess the valiant father of Pocohontas of 
his fair domain, for I certainly never saw a more 
tempting territory. Stonington is about two miles 
from the most romantic point of the Potomac 
River, and Virginia spreads her wild, but beau- 
tiful, and most fertile Paradise, on the opposite 
shore. The Maryland side partakes of the same 
character, and perfectly astonished us by the pro- 
fusion of her wild fruits and flowers. 

We had not been long within reach of the great 
falls of the Potomac before a party was made for us 
to visit them ; the walk from Stonington to these 
falls is through scenery that can hardly be called 
forest, park, or garden ; but which partakes of all 
three. A little English girl accompanied us, who 
had but lately left her home ; she exclaimed, " Oh ! 
how many English ladies would glory in such a 


garden as this !" and in truth they might ; cedars, 
tulip-trees, planes, shumacs, junipers, and oaks of 
various kinds, most of them new to us, shaded our 
path. Wild vines, with their rich expansive 
leaves, and their sweet blossom, rivalling the 
mignionette in fragi'ance, clustered round their 
branches. Strawberries in full bloom, violets, 
anemonies, heart's-ease, and wild pinks, with many 
other, and still lovelier flowers, which my ignorance 
forbids me to name, literally covered the gTound. 
The arbor judae, the dog wood, in its fullest glory 
of star-like flowers, azalias, and wild roses, dazzled 
our eyes whichever way we turned them. It was 
the most flowery two miles I ever walked. 

The sound of the falls is heard at Stonington, 
and the gradual increase of this sound is one of 
the agreeable features of this delicious walk. I 
know not why the rush of waters is so delightful 
to the ear ; all other monotonous sounds are wea- 
rying, and harass the spirits, but I never met any 
one who did not love to listen to a water-fall. A 
rapid stream, called the '* Branch Creek," w^as to 
be crossed ere we reached the spot where the falls 
are first visible. This rumbling, turbid, angry 


little rivulet, flows throiigli evergreens and flowering 
underwood, and is crossed a plusieures reprises, 
by logs thrown from rock to rock. The thundering 
noise of the still unseen falls suggests an idea of 
danger while crossing these rude bridges, which 
hardly belongs to them ; having reached the other 
side of the creek, we continued under the shelter 
of the evergreens for another quarter of a mile, and 
then emerged upon a sight that drew a shout of 
wonder and delight fi'om us all. The rocky depths 
of an enormous river were opened before our eyes, 
and so huge are the black crags that inclose it, 
that the thundering torrents of water rushing 
through, over, and among the rocks of this awful 
chasm, appear lost and swallowed up in it. 

The river, or rather the bed of it, is here of 
great width, and most frightful depth, lined on all 
sides with huge masses of black rock of every 
imaginable form. The flood that roars through 
them is seen only at intervals ; here in a full 
heavy sheet of green transparent water, falling 
straight and unbroken; there dashing along a 
nanow channel, with a violence that makes one 
dizzy to see and hear. In one place an un- 


fathomed pool shews a mirror of inky blackness, 
and as still as night ; in another the tortured 
twisted cataract tumbles headlong in a dozen 
different torrents, half hid by the cloud of spray 
they send high into the air. Despite this uproar, 
the slenderest, loveliest shrubs, peep forth from 
among these hideous rocks, like children smiling 
in the midst of danger. As we stood looking at 
this tremendous scene, one of our friends made us 
remark, that the poison alder, and the poison 
vine, threw their graceful, but perfidious branches, 
over every rock, and assured us also that innu- 
merable tribes of snakes found their dark dwellings 
among them. 

To call this scene beautiful would be a strange 
abuse of terms, for it is altogether composed of 
sights and sounds of teiTor. The falls of the 
Potomac are awfully sublime ; the dark deep gulf 
which yawns before you, the foaming, roaring 
cataract, the eddying whirlpool, and the giddy 
precipice, all seem to threaten life, and to appal 
the senses. Yet it was a great delight to sit upon 
a high and jutting crag, and look and listen. 

I heard with pleasure that it was to the Vir- 


ginian side of the Potomac that the '' felicity 
hunters" of Washiogton resorted to see this fearful 
wonder, for I never saw a spot where T should less 
have liked the annoying " how d'ye," of a casual 
rencontre. One could not even give or receive 
the exciting " is it not charming," which Rousseau 
talks of, for if it were uttered, it could not be 
heard, or, if heard, would fall most earthly dull on 
the spirit, when rapt by the magic of such a 
scene. A look, or the silent pressure of the arm, 
is all the interchange of feeling that such a scene 
allows, and in the midst of ray terror and my 
pleasure, T wished for the arm and the eye of some 
few from the other side of the Atlantic. 

The return from such a scene is more soberly 
silent than the approach to it ; but the cool and 
quiet hour, the mellowed tints of some gay blos- 
soms, and the closed bells of others, the drowsy 
hum of the insects that survive the day, and the 
moist freshness that forbids the foot to weary in 
its homeward path, have all enjoyment in them, 
and seem to harmonize with the half wearied, half 
excited state of spirits, that such an excursion is 
sure to produce : and then the entering the cool 


and moonlit portico, the well-iced sangarce, or 
still more refreshing coffee, that awaits you, is all 
delightful ; and if to this be added the happiness 
of an easy sofa, and a friend like my charming 
Mrs. S , to sooth you with an hour of Mo- 
zart, the most fastidious European might allow 
that such a day was worth waking for. 




Small Landed Proprietors — Slavery. 

I NOW, for the first tirae since I crossed the 
mountains, found myself sufficiently at leisure to 
look deliberately round, and mark the different 
aspects of men and things in a region which, 
though bearing the same name, and calling itself 
the same land, was, in many respects, as different 
from the one I had left, as Amsterdam from St. 
Petersburgh. There every man was straining, and 
struggling, and striving for himself (heaven knows !) 
Here every white man was waited upon, more or 
less, by a slave. There, the newly-cleai-ed lands, 
rich with the vegetable manui'e accumulated for 
ages, demanded the slightest labour to return the 
richest produce ; where the plough entered, crops 
the most abundant followed ; but where it came 
not, no spot of native verdure, no native fruits, no 


native flowers cheered the eye ; all was close, 
dark, stiflmg forest. Here the soil had long ago 
yielded its first fruits; much that had been 
cleared and cultivated for tobacco (the most ex- 
hausting of crops) by the English, required careful 
and laborious husbandry to produce any return ; 
and much was left as sheep-walks. It was in 
these spots that the natural bounty of the soil and 
climate was displayed by the innumerable wild 
fruits and flowers which made every dingle and 
bushy dell seem a garden. 

On entering the cottages I found also a great 
difference in the manner of living. Here, indeed, 
there were few cottages without a slave, but there 
were fewer still that had their beef-steak and 
onions for breakfast, dinner, and supper. The 
herrings of the bountiful Potomac supply their 
place. These are excellent *' relish," as they call 
it, when salted, and, if I mistake not, are sold at a 
dollar and a half per thousand. Whiskey, how- 
ever, flows every where at the same fatally cheap 
rate of twenty cents (about one shilling) the gal- 
lon, and its hideous effects are visible on the 
countenance of every man you meet. 
B 5 


The class of people the most completely unlike 
any existing in England, are those who, farming 
their own freehold estates, and often possessing 
several slaves, yet live with as few of the refine- 
ments, and I think I may say, with as few of the 
comforts of life, as the very poorest English pea- 
sant. When in Maryland, I went into the houses 
of several of these small proprietors, and remained 
long enough, and looked and listened sufficiently, 
to obtain a tolerably coiTect idea of their manner 
of living. 

One of these families consisted of a young man, 
his wife, two children, a female slave, and two 
young lads, slaves also. The farm belonged to the 
wife, and, I was told, consisted of about three hun- 
dred acres of indifferent land, but all cleared. The 
house was built of wood, and looked as if the three 
slaves might have overturned it, had they pushed 
hard against the gable end. It contained one 
room, of about twelve feet square, and another ad- 
joining it, hardly larger than a closet; this second 
chamber was the lodging-room of the white part 
of the family. Above these rooms was a loft, 
without windows, where I was told the " staging 


company" who visited them, were lodged. Near 
this mansion was a " shanty," a black hole, with- 
out any window, which served as kitchen and all 
other offices, and also as the lodging of the 

We v/ere invited to take tea with this family, 
and readily consented to do so. The furniture of 
the room was one heavy huge table, and about six 
wooden chairs. When we arrived the lady was in 
rather a dusky dishabille, but she vehemently urged 
us to be seated, and then retired into the closet- 
chamber above mentioned, whence she continued 
to address to us from behind the door, all kinds of 
" genteel country visiting talk," and at length 
emerged upon us in a smart new dress. 

Her female slave set out the great table, and 
placed upon it cups of the very coarsest blue ware, 
a little brown sugar in one, and a tiny drop of milk 
in another, no butter, though the lady assured us 
she had a " deary''' and two cows. Instead of 
butter, she " hoped we would fix a little relish 
with our crackers," in ancient English, eat salt 
meat and dry biscuits. Such was the fare, and for 
guests that certainly were intended to be honoured. 
B 6 


I could not help recalling the delicious repasts 
which I remembered to have enjoyed at little 
dairy farms in England, not possessed, but rented, 
and at high rents too ; where the clean, fresh- 
coloured, bustling mistress herself skimmed the 
delicious cream, herself spread the yellow butter 
on the delightful brown loaf, and placed her curds, 
and her junket, and all the delicate treasures of 
her dairy before us, and then, with hospitable 
pride, placed herself at her board, and added the 
more delicate " relish" of good tea and good 
cream. I remembered all this, and did not think 
the difference atoned for, by the dignity of having 
my cup handed to me by a slave. The lady I 
now visited, however, greatly surpassed my quon- 
dam friends in the refinement of her conversation. 
She ambled through the whole time the visit lasted, 
in a sort of elegantly mincing familiar style of 
gossip, which, I think, she was imitating from 
some novel, for I was told she was a great novel 
reader, and left all household occupations to be 
performed by her slaves. To say she addressed 
us in a tone of equality, will give no adequate idea 
of her manner; I am persuaded that no misgiving 


on the subject ever entered her head. She told us 
that then' estate was her divi-dettd of her father's 
property. She had married a first cousin, who 
was as fine a gentleman as she was a lady, and as 
idle, preferring hunting (as they call shooting) to 
any other occupation. The consequence was, that 
but a very small portion of the divi-dend was cul- 
tivated, and their poverty was extreme. The 
slaves, particularly the lads, were considerably 
more than half naked, but the air of dignity with 
which, in the midst of all this misery, the lanky 
lady said to one of the young negroes, " Attend 
to your young master, Lycurgus," must have been 
heard to be conceived in the full extent of its mock 

Another dwelling of one of these landed pro- 
prietors was a hovel as wretched as the one 
above described, but there was more industry 
within it. The gentleman, indeed, was himself 
one of the numerous tribe of regular whiskey 
drinkers, and was rarely capable of any work ; but 
he had a family of twelve children, who, with their 
skeleton mother, worked much harder than I ever 
saw negroes do. They were, accordingly, much 


less elegant and mucli less poor than the heiress; 
yet they lived with no appearance of comfort, and 
with, I believe, nothing beyond the necessaries of 
life. One proof of this was, that the worthless 
father would not suffer them to raise, even by their 
own labour, any garden vegetables, and they lived 
upon their fat pork, salt fish, and corn bread, 
summer and winter, without variation. This, I 
found, was frequently the case among the farmers. 
The luxmy of whiskey is more appreciated by the 
men than all the green delicacies from the garden, 
and if all the ready money goes for that and their 
darling chewing tobacco, none can be spent by the 
wife for garden seeds ; and as far as my observa- 
tion extended, I never saw any American menage 
where the toast and no toast question would have 
been decided in favour of the lady. 

There are some small farmers who hold their 
lands as tenants, but these are by no means 
numerous : they do not pay their rent in money, 
but by making over a third of the produce to the 
owner ; a mode of paying rent, considerably more 
advantageous to the tenant, than the landlord ; but 
the difficulty of obtaining money in payment, ex- 


cepting for mere retail articles, is very great in all 
American transactions. ^' I can pay in ■pro-duce,'" 
is the offer which I was assured is constantly made 
on all occasions, and if rejected, " Then I guess we 
can't deal," is the usual rejoinder. This statement 
does not, of course, include the great merchants of 
great cities, but refers to the mass of the people 
scattered over the country ; it has, indeed, been 
my object, in speaking of the customs of the 
people, to give an idea of what they are generally/. 
The effect produced upon English people by the 
sight of slavery in every direction is very new, and 
not very agreeable, and it is not the less painfully 
felt from hearing upon every breeze the mocking 
words, " All men are born free and equal." One 
must be in the heart of American slavery fully to 
appreciate that wonderfully fine passage in Moore' 
Epistle to Lord Viscount Forbes, which describes 
perhaps more faithfully, as well as more power- 
fully, the political state of America, than any thing 
that has ever been written upon it. 

Oh ! Freedom, Freedom, how I hate thy cant ! 
Not eastern bombast, nor the savage rant 


Of purpled madmen, were they numbered all 
From Roman Nero, down to Russian Paul, 
Could grate upon my ear so mean, so base, 
As the rank jargon of that factious race, 
Who, poor of heart, and prodigal of words, 
Born to be slaves, and struggling to be lords, 
But pant for licence, while they spurn controul, 
And shout for rights, with rapine in their soul ! 
Who can, with patience, for a moment see 
The medley mass of pride and misery, 
Of whips and charters, manacles and rights, 
Of slaving blacks, and democratic whites, 
Of all the pyebald polity that reigns 
In free confusion o'er Columbia's plains? 
To think that man, thou just and gentle God ! 
Should stand before thee with a tyrant's rod, 
O'er creatures like himself, with soul from thee. 
Yet dare to boast of perfect liberty : 
Away, away, I'd rather hold my neck 
By doubtful tenure from a Sidtan's beck, 
In climes where liberty has scarce been named, 
Nor any right, but that of ruling, claimed, 
Than thus to live, where bastard freedom waves 
Her fustian flag in mockery over slaves ; 
Where (motley laws admitting no degree 
Betwixt the vilely slaved, and madly free) 
Alike the bondage and the licence suit. 
The brute made ruler, and the man made brute ! 


The condition of domestic slaves, however, does 
not generally appear to be bad; but the ugly 
feature is, that should it be so, they have no power 
to change it. I have seen much kind attention 
bestowed upon the health of slaves ; but it is on 
these occasions impossible to forget, that did this 
attention fail, a valuable piece of property would 
be endangered. Unhappily the slaves, too, know 
this, and the consequence is, that real kindly feel- 
ing very rarely can exist between the parties. It 
is said that slaves born in a family are attached to 
the children of it, who have grown up with them. 
This may be the case where the petty acts of 
infant tyranny have not been sufficient to conquer 
the kindly feeling naturally produced by long and 
early association ; and this sort of attachment may 
last as long as the slave can be kept in that state 
of profound ignorance which precludes reflection. 
The law of Virginia has taken care of this. The 
State legislators may truly be said to be '' wiser 
in their generation than the children of light," and 
they ensure their safety by forbidding light to 
enter among them. By the law of Virginia it is 
penal to teach any slave to read, and it is penal 


to be aiding and abetting in the act of instructing 
them. This law speaks volumes. Domestic slaves 
are, generally speaking, tolerably well fed, and 
decently clothed ; and the mode in which they 
are lodged seems a matter of great indifference to 
them. They are rarely exposed to the lash, and 
they are carefully nursed in sickness. These are 
the favourable features of their situation. The sad 
one is, that they may be sent to the south and 
sold. This is the dread of all the slaves north of 
Louisiana. The sugar plantations, and more than 
all, the rice grounds of Georgia and the Carolinas, 
are the terror of American negroes ; and well they 
may be, for they open an early grave to thousands ; 
and to avoid loss it is needful to make their 
previous labour pay their value. 

There is something in the system of breeding 
and rearing negroes in the Northern States, for the 
express purpose of sending them to be sold in the 
South, that strikes painfully against every feeling 
of justice, mercy, or common humanity. During 
my residence in America I became perfectly per- 
suaded that the state of a domestic slave in a gen- 
tleman's family was preferable to that of a hired 

■ J-t;:'-f-fefea^-^^i^i8=Jit»^J!t^^ 

Virginia 1830. 


American " help," both because they are more 
cared for and valued, and because their condition 
being bom with them, their spirits do not struggle 
against it with that pining discontent which seems 
the lot of all free servants in America. But the 
case is widely different with such as, in their own 
persons, or those of their children, " loved in vain," 
are exposed to the dreadful traffic above men- 
tioned. In what is their condition better than 
that of the kidnapped negroes on the coast of 
Africa } Of the horror in which this enforced 
migration is held I had a strong proof during our 
stay in Virginia. The father of a young slave, who 
belonged to the lady with whom we boarded, was 
destined to this fate, and within an hour after it 
was made known to him, he sharpened the hatchet 
with which he had been felling timber, and with 
his right hand severed his left from the wrist. 

But this is a subject on which I do not mean to 
dilate ; it has been lately treated most judiciously 
by a far abler hand *• Its effects on the moral 
feelings and external manners of the people are 

* See Captain Hall's Travels in America. 


all I wish to observe upon, and these are unques- 
tionably most injurious. The same man who 
beards his wealthier and more educated neighbour 
with the bullying boast, " I'm as good as you," 
turns to his slave, and knocks him dowm, if the 
furrow he has ploughed, or the log he has felled, 
please not this stickler for equality. There is a 
glaring falsehood on the very surface of such a 
man's principles that is revolting. It is not 
among the higher classes that the possession of 
slaves produces the worst effects. Among the 
poorer class of landholders, w^ho are often as pro- 
foundly ignorant as the negroes they own, the 
effect of this plenary power over males and females 
is most demoralising ; and the kind of coarse, 
not to say brutal, authority which is exercised, 
furnishes the most disgusting moral spectacle 
I ever witnessed. In all ranks, however, it ap- 
peared to me that the greatest and best feelings of 
the human heart were paralyzed by the relative 
positions of slave and owner. The characters, the 
hearts of children, are irretrievably injured by 
it. In Virginia we boarded for some time in a fa- 
mily consisting of a widow^ and her four daughters, 


and I there witnessed a scene strongly indicative 
of the effect I have mentioned. A young female 
slave, about eight years of age, had found on the 
shelf of a cupboard a biscuit, temptingly buttered, 
of which she had eaten a considerable portion 
before she was observed. The butter had been 
copiously sprinkled with arsenic for the destruc- 
tion of rats, and had been thus most incautiously 
placed by one of the young ladies of the family. 
As soon as the circumstance was known, the lady 
of the house came to consult me as to what had 
best be done for the poor child ; I immediately 
mixed a large cup of mustard and water (the most 
rapid of all emetics) and got the little girl to 
swallow it. The desired effect was instantly pro- 
duced, but the poor child, partly from nausea, and 
partly from the teiTor of hearing her death pro- 
claimed by half a dozen voices round her, trembled 
so violently that I thought she would fall. I sat 
down in the court where we were standing, and, 
as a matter of course, took the little sufferer in my 
lap. I observed a general titter among the white 
members of the family, while the black stood 
aloof, and looked stupified. The youngest of the 


family, a little girl about the age of the young 
slave, after gazing at me for a few moments in 
utter astonishment, exclaimed, " My ! If Mrs. 
Trollope has not taken her in her lap, and wiped 
her nasty mouth ! Why I would not have touched 
her mouth for two hundred dollars !" 

The little slave was laid on a bed, and I re- 
turned to my own apartments ; some time after- 
wards I sent to enquire for her, and learnt that she 
was in great pain. I immediately went myself to 
enquire farther, when another young lady of the 
family, the one by whose imprudence the accident 
had occurred, met my anxious enquiries with ill- 
suppressed mirth — told me they had sent for the 
doctor — and then burst into uncontrollable laugh- 
ter. The idea of really sympathising in the suf- 
ferings of a slave, appeared to them as absurd as 
weeping over a calf that had been slaughtered by 
the butcher. The daughters of my hostess were 
as lovely as features and complexion could make 
them ; but the neutralizing effect of this total want 
of feeling upon youth and beauty, must be wit- 
nessed, to be conceived. 

There seems in general a strong feeling through- 


out America, that none of the negro race can be 
trusted, and as fear, according to their notions, is 
the only principle by which a slave can be actu- 
ated, it is not wonderful if the imputation be just. 
But I am persuaded that were a different mode of 
moral treatment pursued, most important and 
beneficial consequences would result from it. Ne- 
groes are very sensible to kindness, and might, I 
think, be rendered more profitably obedient by the 
practice of it towards them, than by any other 
mode of discipline whatever. To emancipate them 
entirely throughout the Union cannot, I conceive, 
be thought of, consistently with the safety of the 
country ; but were the possibility of amelioration 
taken into the consideration of the legislature, with 
all the wisdom, justice, and mercy, that could be 
brought to bear upon it, the negro population of 
the Union might cease to be a terror, and their 
situation no longer be a subject either of indigna- 
tion or of pity. 

I observed every where throughout the slave 
states that all articles which can be taken and con- 
sumed are constantly locked up, and in large 
families where the extent of the establishment 


multiplies the number of keys, these are deposited 
in a basket, and consigned to the care of a little 
negress, who is constantly seen following her 
mistress's steps with this basket on her arm, and 
this, not only that the keys may be always at hand, 
but because should they be out of sight one mo- 
ment, that moment would infallibly be employed 
for purposes of plunder. It seemed to me in this 
instance, as in many others, that the close per- 
sonal attendance of these sable shadows, must be 
very annoying ; but whenever I mentioned it, I 
was assured that no such feeling existed, and that 
use rendered them almost unconscious of their 

I had, indeed, frequent opportunites of observing 
this habitual indifference to the presence of their 
slaves. They talk of them, of their condition, of 
their faculties, of their conduct, exactly as if they 
were incapable of hearing. I once saw a young 
lady, who, when seated at table between a male 
and a female, was induced by her modesty to in- 
trude on the chair of her female neighbour to avoid 
the indelicacy of touching the elbow of a man. I 
once saw this very young lady lacing her stays 


with the most perfect composure before a negro 
footman. A Virginian gentleman told me that 
ever since he had married, he had been accus- 
tomed to have a negro girl sleep in the same 
chamber with himself and his wife. I asked for 
what purpose this nocturnal attendance was neces- 
sary ? " Good heaven !" was the reply, " if I 
wanted a glass of water during the night, what 
would become of me ?" 

VOL. ri. 



Fruits and Flotcers of Maryland and Virginia — 
Copper-head Snake — Insects — Elections. 

Our summer in Maryland, (1830,) was delightful. 
The thermometer stood at 94, but the heat was by 
no means so oppressive as what we had felt in the 
West. In no part of North America are the na- 
tural productions of the soil more various, or more 
beautiful. Strawberries of the richest flavour 
sprung beneath our feet ; and when these past 
away, every grove, every lane, every field looked 
like a cherry orchard, offering an inexhaustible 
profusion of fruit to all who would take the trouble 
to gather it. Then followed the peaches ; every 
hedge-row was planted with them, and though 
the fruit did not equal in size or flavour those 
ripened on our garden walls, we often found them 
good enough to afford a delicious refreshment on 


our long rambles. But it was the flowers, and the 
flowering shrubs that, beyond all else, rendered 
this region the most beautiful I had ever seen, 
(the Alleghany always excepted.) No description 
can give an idea of the variety, the profusion, the 
luxuriance of them. If I talk of wild roses, the 
English reader will fancy I mean the pale ephe- 
meral blossoms of our bramble hedges ; but the 
wild roses of Maryland and Virginia might be the 
choicest favorites of the flower garden. They are 
rarely very double, but the brilliant eye atones for 
this. They are of all shades, from the deepest 
crimson to the tenderest pink. The scent is rich 
and delicate ; in size they exceed any single roses 
I ever saw, often measuring above four inches in 
diameter. The leaf greatly resembles that of the 
china rose ; it is large, dark, firm, and brilliant. 
The sweet brier grows wdld, and blossoms abund- 
antly ; both leaves and flowers are considerably 
larger than with us. The acacia, or as it is there 
called, the locust, blooms with great richness and 
profusion ; I have gathered a branch less than a 
foot long, and counted twelve full bunches of 
flowers on it. The scent is equal to the orange 
c 2 


flower. The dogwood is another of the splendid 
white blossoms that adorn the woods. Its lateral 
branches are flat, like a fan, and dotted all over 
with star-like blossoms, as large as those of the 
gum-cistus. Another pretty shrub, of smaller size, 
is the poison alder. It is well that its noxious 
qualities are very generally known, for it is most 
tempting to the eye by its delicate fringe-like 
bunches of white flowers. Even the touch of this 
shrub is poisonous, and produces violent swelling. 
The arbor judse is abundant in every wood, and its 
bright and delicate pink is the earliest harbinger 
of the American spring. Azalias, white, yellow, 
and pink ; kalniias of every variety, the too sweet 
magnolia, and the stately rhododendron, all grow- 
in wild abundance there. The plant known in 
England as the Virginian creeper, is often seen 
climbing to the top of the highest forest trees, and 
bearing a large trumpet shaped blossom of a rich 
scarlet. The sassafras is a beautiful shrub, and I 
cannot imagine why it has not been naturalized in 
England, for it has every appearance of being ex- 
tremely hardy. The leaves grow in tufts, and 
every tuft contains leaves of five or six different 


forms. The fruit is singularly beautiful ; it resem- 
bles in form a small acorn, and is jet black ; the 
cup and stem looking as if they were made of red 
coral. The graceful and fantastic grapevine is a 
feature of great beauty, and its wandering festoons 
bear no more resemblance to our well-trained 
vines, than our stunted azalias, and tiny magno- 
lias, to their thriving American kindred. 

There is another charm that haunts the summer 
wanderer in America, and it is perhaps the only 
one found in greatest perfection in the West : but 
it is beautiful every where. In a bright day, 
during any of the summer months, your walk is 
through an atmosphere of butterflies, so gaudy in 
hue, and so varied in form, that I often thought 
they looked like flowers on the wing^ Some of 
them are very large, measuring three or four inches 
across the wings ; but many, and I think the most 
beautiful, are smaller than ours. Some have wings 
of the most dainty lavender colour, and bodies of 
black ; others are fawn and rose colour ; and 
others again are orange and bright blue. But 
pretty as they are, it is their number, even more 
than their beauty, that delights the eye. Their 
c 3 


gay and noiseless movement as they glance 
through the air, crossing each other in chequered 
maze, is very beautiful. The humming-bird is ano- 
ther i^retty summer toy; but they are not sufficiently 
numerous, nor do they live enough on the wing to 
render them so important a feature in the trans- 
atlantic show, as the rainbow-tinted butterflies. 
The fire-fly was a far more brilliant novelty. In 
moist situations, or before a storm, they are very 
numerous, and in the dark sultry evening of a 
burning day, when all employment was impos- 
sible, I have often found it a pastime to watch 
their glancing light, now here, now there; now 
seen, now gone ; shooting past with the rapidity 
of lightning, and looking like a shower of falling 
stars, blown about in the breeze of evening. 
* * * * i^ * * 

In one of our excursions we encountered and 
slew a copper-liead snake. I escaped treading on 
it by about three inches. While we were con- 
templating our conquered foe, and doubting in our 
ignorance if he were indeed the deadly copper- 
head we had so often heard described, a farmer 
joined us, who, as soon as he cast his eyes on our 


victim, exclaimed, " My ! if you have not got a 
copper. That's light down well done, they be 
darnation beasts." He told us that he had once 
seen a copper-head bite himself to death, from 
being teazed by a stick, while confined in a cage 
where he could find no other victim. We often 
heard terrible accounts of the number of these 
desperate reptiles to be found on the rocks near 
the great falls of the Potomac ; but not even the 
teiTor these stories inspired could prevent our 
repeated visits to that sublime scene ; luckily our 
temerity was never punished by seeing any there. 
Lizards, long, large, and most hideously like a 
miniature crocodile, I frequently saw, gliding from 
the fissures of the rocks, and darting again under 
shelter, perhaps beneath the very stone I was 
seated upon ; but every one assured us they were 
harmless. Animal life is so infinitely abundant, 
and in forms so various, and so novel to European 
eyes, that it is absolutely necessary to divest one- 
self of all the petty terrors which the crawling, 
creeping, hopping, and buzzing tribes can inspire, 
before taking an American summer ramble. It is, 
I conceive, quite impossible for any description to 
c 4 


convey an idea of the sounds which assail the ears 
from the time the short twilight begins, until the 
rising sun scatters the rear of darkness, and sends 
the winking choristers to rest. 

Be where you will (excepting in the large cities) 
the appalling note of the bull-frog will reach you, 
loud, deep, and hoarse, issuing from a thousand 
throats in ceaseless continuity of croak. The 
tree-frog adds her chirping and almost human 
voice ; the kattiedid repeats her own name 
through the livelong night; the whole tribe of 
locusts chip, chirrup, squeak, whiz, and whistle, 
without allowing one instant of interval to the 
weary ear ; and when to this the mosquito adds 
her threatening hum, it is wonderful that any 
degree of fatigue can obtain for the listener the 
relief of sleep. In fact, it is only in ceasing to listen 
that this blessing can be found. I passed many 
feverish nights during my first summer, literally in 
listening to this most astounding mixture of noises, 
and it was only when they became too familiar to 
excite attention, that I recovered my rest. 

I know not by what whimsical link of associ- 
ation the recapitulation of this insect din suggests 



the recollection of other discords, at least as harsh 
and much more troublesome. 

Even in the retirement in which we passed this 
summer, we were not beyond reach of the election 
fever which is constantly raging through the land. 
Had America every attraction under heaven that 
nature and social enjoyment can offer, this elec- 
tioneering madness would make me fly it in dis- 
gust. It engrosses every conversation, it irritates 
every temper, it substitutes party spirit for personal 
esteem ; and, in fact, vitiates the whole system of 

When a candidate for any office starts, his party 
endow him with every virtue, and with all the 
talents. They are all ready to peck out the eyes 
of those who oppose him, and in the warm and 
mettlesome south-western states, do literally often 
perform this operation : but as soon as he succeeds, 
his virtues and his talents vanish, and, excepting 
those holding office under his appointment, every 
man Jonathan of them sets off again full gallop to 
elect his successor. When I first arrived in Ame- 
rica Mr. John Quincy Adams was President, and 
it was impossible to doubt, even from the state- 
c 5 


ment of his enemies, that he was every way cal- 
culated to do honour to the office. All I ever 
heard against him was, that " he was too much of 
a gentleman ;" but a new candidate must be set 
up, and Mr. Adams was out-voted for no other 
reason, that I could learn, but because it was 
" best to change." " Jackson for ever !" was, there- ^ 
fore, screamed from the majority of mouths, both 
drunk and sober, till he was elected ; but no 
sooner in his place, than the same ceaseless opera- 
tion went on again, with " Clay for ever'' for its 

I was one morning paying a visit, when a party 
of gentlemen arrived at the same house on horse- 
back. The one whose air proclaimed him the 
chief of his party, left us not long in doubt as to 
his business, for he said, almost in entering, 

" Mr. P , I come to ask for your vote." 

" Who are you for, sir r' was the reply. 

" Clay for ever !" the rejoinder; and the vote 
was promised. 

This gentleman was candidate for a place in the 
state representation, whose members have a vote 
in the presidential election. 


I was introduced to bim as an English woman : 
he addressed me with, " Well, madam, you see 
we do these things openly and above-board here ; 
you mince such matters more, I expect." 

After his departure, his history and standing 
were discussed. " Mr. M. is highly respectable, 
and of very good standing ; there can be no doubt 
of his election if he is a thorough-going Clay-man," 
said my host. 

I asked what his station was. 

The lady of the house told me that his father 
had been a merchant, and when this future legis- 
lator was a young man, he had been sent by him 
to some port in the Mediterranean as his super- 
cargo. The youth, being a free-born high-spirited 
youth, appropriated the proceeds to his own uses, 
traded with great success upon the fund thus ob- 
tained, and returned, after an absence of twelve 
yeai's, a gentleman of fortune and excellent stand- 
ing. I expressed some little disapprobation of this 
proceeding, but was assured that Mr. M. was 
considered by every one as a very '' honourable 

Were I to relate one-tenth part of the dishonest 
c 6 


transactions recounted to me by Americans, of 
their fellow- citizens and friends, I am confident 
that no English reader would give me credit for 
veracity ; it would, therefore, be very unwise to 
repeat them, but I cannot refrain from expressing 
the opinion that nearly four years of attentive ob- 
servation impressed on me, namely, that the moral 
sense is on every point blunter than with us. 
Make an American believe that his next-door 
neighbour is a very worthless fellow, and I dare 
say (if he w^ere quite sure he could make nothing 
by him) he would drop the acquaintance ; but as 
to what constitutes a worthless fellow, j^eople 
differ on the opposite sides of the Atlantic, almost 
by the whole decalogue. There is, as it appeared 
to me, an obtusity on all points of honourable 

'• Cervantes laughed Spain's chivalry away," 
but he did not laugh away that better part of 
chivalry, so beautifully described by Burke as 
" the unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of 
nations, that chastity of honour, which feels a stain 
as a wound, which ennobles whatever it touches, 
and by which vice itself loses half its evil, i)y 


losing all its grossness." This better part of chi- 
valry still mixes with gentle blood in every part of 
Europe, nor is it less fondly guarded than when 
sword and buckler aided its defence. Perhaps 
this unbought grace of life is not to be looked for 
where chivalry has never been. I certainly do 
not lament the decadence of knight errantry, nor 
wish to exchange the protection of the laws for 
that of the doughtiest champion who ever set 
lance in rest ; but I do, in truth, believe that this 
knightly sensitiveness of honourable feeling is the 
best antidote to the petty soul-degrading transac- 
tions of every-day life, and that the total want of 
it, is one reason why this free-born race care so 
very little for the vulgar virtue called probity. 

38 DOMESTIC :manners 


Journey to Philadelphia — Chesapeak and Dela- 
ware Canal — City of Philadelphia — Miss 
WrighVs Lecture. 

In the latter part of August, 1830, we paid a visit 
to Philadelphia, and, notwithstanding the season, 
we were so fortunate as to have both bright and 
temperate weather for the expedition. The road 
from Washington to Baltimore, which was our first 
day's journey, is interesting in summer from the 
variety and luxuriance of the foliage which borders 
great part of it. 

We passed the night at Baltimore, and em- 
barked next morning on board a steam-boat for 
Philadelphia. The scenery of the Elk river, upon 
which you enter soon after leaving the port of 
Baltimore, is not beautiful. We embarked at six 
in the moniing, and at twelve reached the Chesa- 



peak and Delaware canal ; we then quitted the 
steam-boat, and walked two or three hundred yards 
to the canal, where we got on board a pretty little 
decked boat, sheltered by a neat awning, and 
drawn by four horses. This canal cuts across the 
state of Delaware, and connects the Chesapeak 
and Delaware rivers : it has been a work of great ex- 
pense, though the distance is not more than thirteen 
miles ; for a considerable part of this distance the 
cutting has been very deep, and the banks are in 
many parts thatched, to prevent their crumbling. 
At the point where the cutting is deepest, a light 
bridge is thrown across, which, from its great 
height, forms a striking object to the travellers 
passing below it. Every boat that passes this 
canal pays a toll of twenty dollars. 

Nothing can be less interesting than that part 
of the state of Delaware through which this cut 
passes, the Mississippi hardly excepted. At one, we 
reached the Delaware river, at a point nearly oppo- 
site Delaware Fort, which looks recently built, and 
is very handsome *. Here we again changed our 

* This fort was destroyed by fire a few months afterwards. 


vessel, and got on board another of their noble 
steam-boats ; both these changes were made with 
the greatest regularity and dispatch. 

There is nothing remarkable in the scenery of 
the Delaware. The stream is wide and the banks 
are flat ; a short distance before you reach Phila- 
delphia two large buildings of singular appearance 
strike the eye. On enquiry I learnt that they were 
erected for the purpose of sheltering two ships of 
war. They are handsomely finished, with very 
neat roofs, and are ventilated by many windows. 
The expense of these buildings must have been 
considerable, but, as the construction of the vast 
machines they shelter was more so, it may be good 

We reached Philadelphia at four o'clock in the 
afternoon. The approach to this city is not so 
striking as that to Baltimore ; though much larger, 
it does not now shew itself so w^ell : it wants 
domes and columns : it is, nevertheless, a beautiful 
city. Nothing can exceed its neatness; the streets 
are w ell paved, the foot-way, as in all the old Ame- 
rican cities, is of brick, like the old pantile walk 
at Tunb ridge Wells. This is almost entirely shel- 


tered from the sun by the awnings, which, in all 
the principal streets, are spread from the shop 
windows to the edge of the pavement. 

The city is built with extreme and almost wea- 
risome regularity ; the streets, which run north and 
south, are distinguished by numbers, from one to— 
I know not how many, but I paid a visit in Twelfth 
Street; these are intersected at right angles by 
others, which are known by the names of various 
trees ; Mulberry (more commonly called Arch- 
street), Chesnut, and Walnut, appear the most 
fashionable : in each of these there is a theatre. 
This mode of distinguishing the streets is com- 
modious to strangers, from the facility it gives of 
finding out whereabouts you are ; if you ask for 
the United States Bank, you are told it is in 
Chesnut, between Third and Fourth, and as the 
streets are all divided from each other by equal 
distances, of about three hundred feet, you are sure 
of not missing your mark. There are many hand- 
some houses, but none that are very splendid ; 
they are generally of brick, and those of the better 
order have white marble steps, and some few, door 
frames of the same beautiful material ; but, on the 


whole, there is less display of it in the private 
dwellings than at Baltimore. 

The Americans all seem greatly to admire this 
city, and to give it the preference in point of 
beauty, to all others in the Union, but I do not 
agree with them. There are some very handsome 
buildings, but none of them so placed as to pro- 
duce a striking eflfect, as is the case both with the 
Capitol and the President's house, at Washington. 
Notwithstanding these fine buildings, one or more 
of which are to be found in all the principal 
streets, the coup d'oeil is every where the same. 
There is no Place de Louis Quinze or Carrousel, no 
Regent Street, or Green Park, to make one exclaim 
" how beautiful !" all is even, straight, uniform, 
and uninteresting. 

There is one spot, however, about a mile from 
the town, which presents a lovely scene. The 
water-works of Philadelphia have not yet perhaps 
as wide extended fame as those of ^larley, but 
they are not less deserving it. At a most beautiful 
point of the Schuylkill River the water has been 
forced up into a magnificent reservoir, ample and 
elevated enough to send it throudi the whole city. 


The vast yet simple machinery by which this is 
achieved is open to the public, who resort in such 
numbers to see it, that several evening stages run 
from Philadelphia to Fair Mount for their accom- 
modation. But interesting and curious as this 
machinery is. Fair Mount would not be so at- 
tractive had it not something else to offer. It is, 
in truth, one of the very prettiest spots the eye can 
look upon. A broad wear is thrown across the 
Schuylkill, which produces the sound and look of 
a cascade. On the farther side of the river is a 
gentleman's seat, the beautiful lawns of which 
slope to the water's edge, and groups of weeping- 
willows and other trees throw their shadows on the 
stream. The works themselves are enclosed in a 
simple but very handsome building of freestone, 
which has an extended front opening upon a ter- 
race, which overhangs the river : behind the build- 
ing, and divided from it only by a lawn, rises a 
lofty wall of solid lime-stone rock, which has, at 
one or two points, been cut into, for the passage 
of the water into the noble reservoir above. From 
the crevices of this rock the catalpa was every 
where pushing forth, covered with its beautiful 


blossom. Beneath one of these trees an artificial 
opening in the rock gives passage to a stream of 
water, clear and bright as crystal, which is re- 
ceived in a stone basin of simple workmanship, 
having a cup for the service of the thirsty tra- 
veller. At another point, a portion of the water 
in its upward way to the reservoir, is permitted to 
spring forth in a perpetual jet (Teau, that returns 
in a silver shower upon the head of a marble naiad 
of snowy whiteness. The statue is not the work 
of Phidias, but its dark, rocky back-ground, the 
flowery catalpas which shadow it, and the bright 
shower through which it shews itself, altogether 
makes the scene one of singular beauty ; add to 
which, the evening on which I saw it was very 
sultry, and the contrast of this cool spot to all be- 
sides certainly enhanced its attractions ; it was 
impossible not to envy the nymph her eternal 

On returning from this excursion we saw hand- 
bills in all parts of the city announcing that Miss 
Wright was on that evening to deliver her parting 
address to the citizens of Philadelphia, at the 
Arch Street theatre, previous to her departure for 


Europe. Ij immediately determined to hear her, 
and did so, though not without some difficulty, 
from the crowds who went thither with the same 
intention. The house, whicli is a very pretty one, 
was filled in every part, including the stage, with 
a well dressed and most attentive audience. There 
was a larger proportion of ladies present than I 
ever saw on any other occasion in an American 
theatre. One reason for this might be, perhaps, 
that they were admitted gratis. 

Miss Wright came on the stage surrounded by 
a body guard of Quaker ladies, in the full costume 
of their sect. She was, as she always is, startling 
in her theories, but powerfully eloquent, and, on 
the whole, was much applauded, though one pas- 
sage produced great emotion, and some hissing. 
She stated broadly, on the authority of Jefferson, 
furnished by his posthumous works, that " Wash- 
ington was not a Christian." One voice frotoi the 
crowded pit exclaimed, in an accent of indigna- 
tion, " Washington was a Christian ;" but it was 
evident that the majority of the audience con- 
sidered Mr. Jefferson's assertion as a com]jliment 
to the country's idol, for the hissing was soon 


triumphantly clapped down. General Washing- 
ton himself, however, gives a somewhat different 
account of his own principles, for in his admirable 
farewell address on declining a re-election to the 
Presidency, I find the following passage. 

" Of all the dispositions and habits which lead 
to political prosperity, religion and morality are 
indispensable supports. In vain would that man 
claim the tribute of patriotism who would labour 
to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, 
these firmest props of the destinies of men and 
citizens. A volume could not trace all their con- 
nections with private and public felicity. And 
let us with caution indulge the supposition that 
morality can be maintained without religion, 
reason and experience both forbid us to expect 
that national morality can prevail in exclusion of 
religious principle." 

Whether Mr. Jefferson or himself knew best 
what his principles were, I will not decide, but, at 
least, it appears fair, when repeating one statement, 
to add the other also. 



Washington Square — American Beauty — Gallery 
of Fine Arts — Antiques — Theatres — Museum. 

Our mornings were spent, as all travellers' morn- 
ings must be, in asking questions, and in seeing 
all that the answers told us it was necessary to see. 
Perhaps this can be done in no city with more 
facility than in Philadelphia ; you have nothing 
to do but to walk up one straight street, and down 
another, till all the parallelograms have been 
threaded. In doing this you will see many things 
worth looking at. The United States, and Penn- 
sylvania banks, are the most striking buildings, 
and are both extremely handsome, being of white 
marble, and built after Grecian models. The 
State House has nothing externally to recommend 
it, but the room shewn as that in which the de- 
claration of independence was signed, and in 


which the estimable Lafayette was received half a 
century after he had shed his noble blood in aiding 
to obtain it, is an interesting spot. At one end of 
this room is a statue in wood of General Washing- 
ton ; on its base is the following inscription : — 

First in Peace, 

First in War, 


First in the hearts of his Countrymen. 

There is a very pretty enclosure before the 
Walnut Street entrance to the State House, with 
good well-kept gravel walks, and many of their 
beautiful flowering trees. It is laid down in 
gi'ass, not in turf; that, indeed, is a luxury I never 
saw in America. Near this enclosure is another 
of much the same description, called Washington 
Square. Here there was an excellent crop of 
clover; but as the trees are numerous, and highly 
beautiful, and several commodious seats are placed 
beneath their shade, it is, spite of the long grass, a 
very agreeable retreat from heat and dust. It was 
rarely, however, that I saw any of these seats 
occupied ; the Americans have either no leisure. 


or no inclination for tho>se moments of delassemeni 
that all other people, I believe, indulge in. Even 
their drams, so universally taken by rich and poor, 
are swallowed standing, and, excepting at church, 
they never have the air of leisure or repose. This 
pretty Washington Square is surrounded by houses 
on three sides, but (lasso !) has a prison on the 
fourth ; it is nevertheless the nearest approach 
to a London square that is to be found in Phila- 

One evening, while the rest of my party went to 
visit some object w^hich I had before seen, I 
agreed to await their return in this square, and sat 
down under a magnificent catalpa, which threw 
its fragrant blossoms in all directions ; the other 
end of the bench was occupied by a young lady, 
who was employed in watching the gambols of a 
little boy. There was something in her manner 
of looking at me, and exchanging a smile when 
her young charge performed some extraordinary 
feat of activity on the grass, that persuaded me 
she was not an American. I do not remember 
who spoke first, but we were presently in a full 
flow of conversation. She spoke English with 



elegant correctness, but she was a German, and 
with an ardour of feeling which gave her a de- 
cidedly foreign air in Philadelphia, she talked to 
me of her country, of all she had left, and of all 
she had found, or rather of all she had not found, 
for thus run her lament : — 

" They do not love music. Oh no ! and they 
never amuse themselves — no ; and their hearts are 
not warm, at least they seem not so to strangers ; 
and they have no ease, no forgetfulness of business 
and of care — no, not for a moment. But I will 
not stay long, I think, for I should not live." 

She told me that she had a brother settled there 
as a merchant, and that she had passed a year 
with him ; but she was hoping soon to return to 
her father land. 

I never so strongly felt the truth of the remark, 
that expression is the soul of beauty, as in looking 
at, and listening to this young German. She was any 
thing but handsome ; it is true she had large eyes 
full of gentle expression, but every feature was irre- 
gular ; but, oh ! the charm of that smile, of that look 
of deep feeling which animated every feature when 
she spoke of her own Germany ! The tone of her 


voice, the slight and graceful action which accom- 
panied her words, all struck me as so attractive, 
that the half hour I passed with her was con- 
tinually recurring to my memory. I had often 
taxed myself with feeling something like preju- 
dice against the beautiful American women ; but 
this half hour set my conscience at rest ; it is not 
prejudice which causes one to feel that regularity 
of features is insuflacient to interest, or even to 
please, beyond the first glance. I certainly be- 
lieve the women of America to be the handsomest 
in the world, but as surely do I believe that they 
are the least attractive. 

We visited the nineteenth annual exhibition of 
the Pennsylvanian academy of the fine arts ; 431 
was the number of objects exhibited, which were so 
arranged as to fill three tolerably large rooms, and 
one smaller, called the director's room. There 
were among the number about thirty engravings, 
and a much larger proportion of water-colour 
drawings ; about seventy had the P. A. (Pennsyl- 
vanian Academician) annexed to the name of the 

D 2 


The principal historical composition was a 
large scripture piece by Mr. Washington Alston. 
This gentleman is spoken of as an artist of 
great merit, and I was told that his manner was 
much improved since this picture was painted, 
(it bears date, 1813). I believe it was for this 
picture Mr. Alston received a prize at the British 

There was a portrait of a lady, which, in the 
catalogue, is designated as " the White Plume," 
which had the reputation of being the most ad- 
mired in the collection, and the artist, Mr. Ingham, 
is said to rank highest among the portrait-painters 
of America. This picture is of very high finish, 
particularly the drapery, which is most elaborately 
worked, even to the pile of the velvet; the ma- 
nagement of the light is much in the manner of 
Good ; but the drawing is very defective, and the 
contour, though the face is a lovely one, hard and 
unfleshy. From all the conversations on painting, 
which I listened to in America, I found that the 
fmish of drapery was considered as the highest ex- 
cellence, and next to this, the resemblance in a 
portrait ; I do not remember ever to have heard 

:i \9 i| ' )!•', .^ ■ !1 ■ <s\ ■ !l • 111 IK I i A 1. 1 . IK IR¥ 


the words drawing or coinposition used in any 
conversation on the subject. 

One of the rooms of this academy has inscribed 
over its door, 


The door was open, but just within it was a 
screen, which prevented any objects in the room 
being seen from without. Upon my pausing to 
read this inscription, an old woman who appeared 
to officiate as guardian of the gallery, bustled up, 
and addressing me with an air of much mystery, 
said, " Now, ma'am, now; this is just the time 
for you — nobody can see you — make haste." 

I stared at her with unfeigned surprise, and 
disengaging my arm, which she had taken appa- 
rently to hasten my movements, I very gravely 
asked her meaning. 

" Only, ma'am, that the ladies like to go into 
that room by themselves, when there be no gentle- 
men watching them." 

On entering this mysterious apartment, the first 
thing I remarked, was a written paper, deprecating 


the disgusting depravity which had led some of 
the visitors to mark and deface the casts in a 
most indecent and shameless manner. This 
abomination has unquestionably been occasioned 
by the coarse-minded custom which sends alter- 
nate groups of males and females into the room. 
Were the antique gallery thrown open to mixed 
parties of ladies and gentlemen, it would soon 
cease. Till America has reached the degree of 
refinement which permits of this, the antique 
casts should not be exhibited to ladies at all. I 
never felt my delicacy shocked at the Louvre, but 
I was strangely tempted to resent as an affront 
the hint I received, that I might steal a glance at 
what was deemed indecent. Perhaps the arrange- 
ments for the exhibition of this room, the feelings 
which have led to them, and the result they have 
produced, furnish as good a specimen of the kind 
of delicacy on which the Americans pride them- 
selves, and of the peculiarities arising from it, as 
can be found. The room contains about fifty 
casts, chiefly from the antique. 

In the director's room T was amused at the 
means which a poet had hit upon for advertising 


his works, or rather His work, and not less at 
the elaborate notice of it. His portrait was sus- 
pended there, and attached to the frame was a 
paper inscribed thus : — 



The Fredoniad, or Independence Preserved, a political, naval, 

and military poem, on the late war of 1812, in forty cantos; 

the whole compressed into four volumes ; each 

volume averaging more than 305 pages, 

By Richard Emmons, 


I went to the Chesnut Street see Mr. 
Booth, formerly of Drury Lane, in the character of 
Lear, and a Mrs. Duff in CordeHa; but I have 
seen too many Lears and Cordelias to be easily 
pleased; I thought the whole performance very 
bad. The theatre is of excellently moderate di- 
mensions, and prettily decorated. It was not the 
fashionable season for the theatres, which I pre- 
sume must account for the appearance of the 
company in the boxes, which was any thing but 
elegant; nor was there more decorum of de- 
D 4 


meanour than I had observed elsewhere ; I saw 
one man in the lower tier of boxes deliberately 
take off his coat that he might enjoy the refreshing 
coolness of shirt sleeves ; all the gentlemen wore 
their hats, and the spitting was unceasing. 

On another evening we went to the Walnut 
Street Theatre ; the chief attraction of the night 
was furnished by the performance of a young man 
who had been previously exhibited as " a living 
skeleton." He played the part of Jeremiah Thin, 
and certainly looked the part w^ell, and here I 
think must end my praise of the evening's per- 

The great and most striking contrast between 
this city and those of Europe, is perceived after 
sun-set ; scarcely a sound is heard ; hardly a voice 
or a wheel breaks the stillness. The streets are 
entirely dark, except where a stray lamp marks an 
hotel or the like ; no shops are open, but those of 
the apothecary, and here and there a cook's shop ; 
scarcely a step is heard, and for a note of music, 
or the sound of mirth, I listened in vain. In 
leaving the theatre, W'hich I always did before the 
afterpiece, I saw not a single carnage ; the night 


of Miss Wright's lecture, when T stayed to the 
end, I saw one. This darkness, tliis stillness, is 
so great, that I almost felt it awful. As we walked 
home one fine moonlight evening from the Chesnut 
Street house, we stopped a moment before the 
United States Bank, to look at its white marble 
columns by the subdued light said to be so ad- 
vantageous to them ; the building did, indeed, 
look beautiful ; the incongruous objects around 
were hardly visible, while the brilliant white of 
the building, which by day -light is dazzling, was 
mellowed into fainter light and softer shadow. 

While pausing before this modern temple of 
Theseus, we remarked that we alone seemed alive 
in this great city ; it was ten o'clock, and a most 
lovely cool evening, after a burning day, yet all 
was silence. Regent Street, Bond Street, with 
their blaze of gas-lit bijouterie, and still more 
the Italian Boulvard of Paris, rose in strong con- 
trast on the memory ; the light, which outshines 
that of day — the gay, graceful, laughing throng — 
the elegant saloons of Tortoni, with all their va- 
rieties of cooling nectar — were all remembered. Is 
it an European prejudice to deem that the solitary 
D 5 


dram swallowed by the gentlemen on quitting 
an American theatre, indicates a lower and more 
vicious state of manners, than do the ices so 
sedulously offered to the ladies on leaving a French 

one ? 

The Museum contains a good collection of ob- 
jects illustrative of natural history, and some very 
interesting specimens of Indian antiquities ; both 
here and at Cincinnati I saw so many things 
resembling Egyptian relics, that I should like to 
see the origin of the Indian nations enquired into, 
more accurately than has yet been done. 

The shops, of which there appeared to me to be 
an unusually large proportion, are very handsome ; 
many of them in a style of European elegance. 
Lottery offices abound, and that species of gam- 
bling is carried to a great extent. I saw fewer car- 
riages in Philadelphia than either at Baltimore or 
Washington, but in the winter I was told they 
were more numerous. 

Many of the best families had left the city for 
different watering-places, and others were daily 
following. Long Branch is a fashionable bathing 


place on the Jersey shore, to which many resort, 
both from this place and from New York ; the 
description given of the manner of bathing ap- 
peared to me rather extraordinary, but the account 
was confirmed by so many different people, that I 
could not doubt its coiTcctness. The shore, it 
seems, is too bold to admit of bathing machines, 
and the ladies have, therefore, recourse to another 
mode for insuring the enjoyment of a sea-bath with 
safety. The accommodation at Long Branch is 
almost entirely at large boarding-houses, where all 
the company live at a table (Thote. It is cus- 
tomary for ladies on arriving to look round among 
the married gentlemen, the first time they meet at 
table, and to select the one her fancy leads her to 
prefer as a protector in her purposed visits to the 
realms of Neptune ; she makes her request, which 
is always graciously received, that he would lead 
her to taste the briny wave ; but another fair one 
must select the same protector, else the arrange- 
ment cannot be complete, as custom does not 
authorise tete a ttte immersion. 




Quakers — Presbyterians — Itinerant Methodist 
Preacher — Market — Influence of females in 

I HAD never chanced, among all my wanderings, 
to enter a Quaker Meeting-house ; and as I thought 
I could no where make my first visit better than 
at Philadelphia, I went under the protection of a 
Quaker lady to the principal orthodox meeting of 
the city. The building is large, but perfectly 
without ornament ; the men and women are sepa- 
rated by a rail which divides it into two equal 
parts ; the meeting was very full on both sides, 
and the atmosphere almost intolerably hot. As 
they glided in at their different doors, I spied 
many pretty faces peeping from the prim head 
gear of the females, and as the broad-brimmed 
males sat down, the welcome Parney sup- 


poses prepared for them in heaven, recurred 
to me, 

" Entre done, et garde ton cliapeau." 

The little bonnets and the large hats were ranged 
in long rows, and their stillness was for a long 
time so unbroken, that I could hardly persuade 
myself the figures they surmounted were alive. At 
length a grave square man arose, laid aside his 
ample beaver, and after another solemn interval of 
silence, he gave a deep groan, and as it were by 
the same effort uttered, " Keep thy foot." Again 
he was silent for many minutes, and then he con- 
tinued for more than an hour to put forth one word 
at a time, but at such an interval from each other 
that I found it quite impossible to follow his 
meaning, if, indeed, he had any. My Quaker 
friend told me she knew not who he was, and that 
she much regretted I had heard so poor a preacher. 
After he had concluded, a gentleman-like old man 
(a phj^sician by profession) arose, and delivered a 
few moral sentences in an agreeable manner; soon 
after he had sat down, the whole congregation 
rose, I know not at what signal, and made their 


exit. It is a singular kind of worship, if worship 
it may be called, where all prayer is forbidden ; 
yet it appeared to me, in its decent quietness, infi- 
nitely preferable to what I had witnessed at the 
Presbyterian and Methodist meeting-houses. A 
great schism had lately taken place among the 
Quakers of Philadelphia ; many objecting to the 
over-strict discipline of the orthodox. Among the 
seceders there are again various shades of differ- 
ence; I met many who called themselves Uni- 
tarian Quakers, others were Hicksites, and others 
again, though still wearing the Quaker habit, were 
said to be Deists. 

We visited many churches and chapels in the 
city, but none that would elsewhere be called 
handsome, either internally or externally. 

I went one evening, not a Sunday, with a party 
of ladies to see a Presbyterian minister inducted. 
The ceremony was woefully long, and the charge 
to tlie young man awfully impossible to obey, at 
least if he were a man, like unto other men. It 
was matter of astonishment to me to observe the 
deep attention, and the unwearied patience with 
which some hundreds of beautiful young girls who 


were assembled there, (not to mention the old 
ladies,) listened to the whole of this tedious cere- 
mony ; surely there is no country in the world 
where religion makes so large a part of the amuse- 
ment and occupation of the ladies. Spain, in its 
most catholic days, could not exceed it : besides, 
in spite of the gloomy horrors of the Inquisition, 
gaiety and amusement were not there offered as a 
sacrifice by the young and lovely. 

The religious severity of Philadelphian manners 
is in nothing more conspicuous than in the number 
of chains thrown across the streets on a Sunday to 
prevent horses and carriages from passing. Surely 
the Jews could not exceed this country in their 
external observances. What the gentlemen of 
Philadelphia do v^ith themselves on a Sunday, I 
will not pretend to guess, but the prodigious 
majority of females in the churches is very re- 
markable. Although a large proportion of the 
population of this city are Quakers, the same ex- 
traordinary variety of faith exists here, as every 
where else in the Union, and the priests have, in 
some circles, the same unbounded influence which 
has been mentioned elsewhere. 


One history reached me, which gave a terrible 
picture of the effect this power may produce ; it 
was related to me by my mantua-maker ; a young 
woman highly estimable as a wife and mother, 
and on whose veracity I perfectly rely. She told 
me that her father was a widower, and lived with 
his family of three daughters, at Philadelphia. A 
short time before she married, an itinerant preacher 
came to the cit}^, who contrived to obtain an inti- 
mate footing in many respectable families. Her 
father's was one of these, and his influence and 
authority were great with all the sisters, but par- 
ticularly with the youngest. The young girl's 
feelings for him seem to have been a curious mix- 
ture of spiritual awe and earthly afiection. When 
she received a hint from her sisters that she ought 
not to give him too much encouragement till he 
spoke out, she shewed as much holy resentment 
as if they had told her not to say her prayers too 
devoutly. At length the father remarked the sort 
of covert passion that gleamed through the eyes 
of his godly visitor, and he saw too, the pallid 
anxious look which had settled on the young brow 
of his dauditer ; either this, or some rumours he 



had heard abroad, or both together, led him to forbid 
this man his house. The three girls were present 
when he did so, and all uttered a deprecating 
'' Oh father !" but the old man added stoutly, " If 
you shew yourself here again, reverend sir, I will 
not only teach you the way out of my house, but 
out of the city also. The preacher withdrew, and 
was never heard of in Philadelphia afterwards ; 
but when a few months had passed, strange whis- 
pers began to creep through the circle which had 
received and honoured him, and, in due course of 
time, no less than seven unfortunate girls produced 
living proofs of the wisdom of my informant's 
worthy father. In defence of this dreadful story 
I can only make the often repeated quotation^ '' I 
tell the tale as 'twas told to me;" but, in all sin- 
cerity I must add, that I have no doubt of its truth. 

I was particularly requested to visit the market 
of Philadelphia, at the hour when it presented the 
busiest scene; I did so, and thought few cities 
had any thing to shew better worth looking at ; it 
is, indeed, the very perfection of a market, the 
beau ideal of a notable housewife, who would 


confide to no deputy the important office of ca- 
terer. The neatness, freshness, and entire ab- 
sence of every thing disagreeable to sight or smell, 
must be witnessed to be believed. Tlie stalls were 
spread with snow-white napkins ; flowers and 
fruit, if not quite of Paris or London perfection, 
yet bright, fresh, and fragrant ; with excellent ve- 
getables in the greatest variety and abundance, 
were all so delightfully exhibited, that objects less 
pleasing were overlooked and forgotten. The 
dairy, the poultry-yard, the forest, the river, and 
the ocean, all contributed their spoil ; in short, for 
the first time in my life, I thought a market a 
beautiful object. The prices of most articles were, 
as nearly as I could calculate between dollars and 
francs, about the same as at Paris ; certainly much 
cheaper than in London, but much dearer than at 

My letters of introduction brought me acquainted 
with several amiable and interesting people. There 
is something in the tone of manners at Philadel- 
phia that I liked ; it appeared to me that there 
was less affectation of ton there than elsewhere. 
There is a quietness, a composure in a Philadel- 


phia drawing-room, that is quite characteristic of 
a city founded by William Penn. The dress 
of the ladies, even those who are not Qua- 
kers, partakes of this; they are most elegantly 
neat, and there was a delicacy and good taste in 
the dress of the young ladies that might serve as 
a model to the whole Union, There can hardly 
be a stronger contrast in the style of dress between 
any two cities than may be remarked between 
Baltimore and Philadelphia ; both are costly, but 
the former is distinguished by gaudy splendour, 
the latter by elegant simplicity. 

It is said that this city has many gentlemen 
distinguished by their scientific pursuits ; I con- 
versed with several well-informed and intelligent 
men, but there is a cold dryness of manner and an 
apparent want of interest in the subjects they 
discuss, that, to my mind, robs conversation of all 
its charm. On one occasion I heard the character 
and situation of an illustrious officer discussed, 
who had served with renown under Napoleon, and 
whose high character might have obtained him 
favour under the Bourbons, could he have aban- 
doned the principles which led him to dislike their 


government. This distinguished man had re- 
treated to America after the death of his master, 
and was endeavouring to establish a sort of Poly- 
technic academy at New York : in speaking of him, 
I observed, that his devotion to the cause of free- 
dom must prove a strong recommendation in the 
United States. " Not the least in the world, ma- 
dam," answered a gentleman who ranked deserv- 
edly high among the literati of the city, " it might 
avail him much in England, perhaps, but here we 
are perfectly indifferent as to what people's prin- 
ciples may be." 

This I believe to be exactly true, though I never 
before heard it avowed as a national feature. 

The want of warmth, of interest, of feeling, upon 
all subjects which do not immediately touch their 
own concerns, is universal, and has a most para- 
lysing effect upon conversation. All the enthu- 
siasm of America is concentrated to the one point 
of her own emancipation and independence; on 
this point nothing can exceed the warmth of her 
feelings. She may, I think, be compared to a 
young bride, a sort of Mrs. Major Waddle; her 
independence is to her as a newly-won bride- 


groom ; for him alone she has eyes, ears, or heart ; 
— the honeymoon is not over yet ; — when it is, 
America will, perhaps, learn more coquetry, and 
know better how to /aire Vaimahle to other na- 

I conceive that no place in the known world 
can furnish so striking a proof of the immense 
value of literary habits as the United States, not 
only in enlarging the mind, but what is of infi- 
nitely more importance, in purifying the manners. 
During my abode in the country 1 not only never 
met a literary man who was a tobacco chewer 
or a whiskey drinker, but I never met any who 
were not, that had escaped these degrading habits. 
On the women, the influence is, if possible, still 
more important ; unfortunately, the instances are 
rare, but they are to be found. One admirable 
example occurs in the person of a young lady of 
Cincinnati : surrounded by a society totally in- 
capable of appreciating, or even of comprehending 
her, she holds a place among it, as simply and 
unaffectedly as if of the same species ; young, 
beautiful, and gifted by nature with a mind sin- 
gularly acute and discriminating, she has happily 


found such opportunities of cultivation as might 
distinguish her in any country ; it is, indeed, that 
best of all cultivation which is only to be found in 
domestic habits of literature, and in that hourly 
education which the daughter of a man of letters 
receives when she is made the companion and 
friend of her father. This young lady is the more 
admirable as she contrives to unite all the multi- 
farious duties which usually devolve upon Ame- 
rican ladies, with her intellectual pursuits. The 
companion and efficient assistant of her father's 
literary labours, the active aid in all the household 
cares of her mother, the tender nurse of a delicate 
infant sister, the skilful artificer of her own always 
elegant wardrobe, ever at leisure, and ever pre- 
pared to receive with the sweetest cheerfulness her 
numerous acquaintance, the most animated in 
conversation, the most indefatigable in occupation, 
it was impossible to know her, and study her cha- 
racter without feeling that such women were " the 
glory of all lands," and, could the race be multi- 
plied, would speedily become the reformers of all 
the grossness and ignorance that now degrade her 
own. Is it to be imagined, that if fifty modifica- 


tions of this charming young woman were to be 
met at a party, the men would dare to enter it 
reeking with whiskey, their lips blackened with 
tobacco, and convinced, to the very centre of their 
hearts and souls, that women were made for no 
other purpose than to fabricate sweetmeats and 
gingerbread, construct shirts, darn stockings, and 
become mothers of possible presidents ? Assuredly 
not. Should the women of America ever discover 
what their power might be, and compare it with 
what it is, much improvement might be hoped for. 
While, at Philadelphia, among the handsomest, 
the wealthiest, and the most distinguished of the 
land, their comparative influence in society, with 
that possessed in Europe by females holding the 
same station, occurred forcibly to my mind. 

Let me be permitted to describe the day of a 
Philadelphian lady of the first class, and the in- 
ference I would draw from it will be better under- 

It may be said that the most important feature 
in a woman's history is her maternity. It is so ; 
but the object of the present observation is the 
social, and not the domestic influence of woman. 


This lady shall be the wife of a senator and a 
lawyer in the highest repute and practice. She 
has a very handsome house, with white marble 
steps and door-posts, and a delicate silver knocker 
and door-handle ; she has very handsome drawing- 
rooms, very handsomely furnished, (there is a side- 
board in one of them, but it is very handsome, and 
has very handsome decanters and cut glass water- 
jugs upon it) ; she has a very handsome carnage, 
and a very handsome free black coachman ; she is 
always very handsomely dressed; and, moreover, 
she is very handsome herself. 

She rises, and her first hour is spent in the 
scrupulously nice arrangement of her dress ; she 
descends to her parlour neat, stiff, and silent ; her 
breakfast is brought in by her free black footman ; 
she eats her fried ham and her salt fish, and drinks 
her coffee in silence, while her husband reads one 
newspaper, and puts another under his elbow ; 
and then, perhaps, she washes the cups and 
saucers. Her carriage is ordered at eleven ; till 
that hour she is employed in the pastry -room, her 
snow-white apron protecting her mouse-coloured 
silk. Twenty minutes before her carriage should 


appear, she retires to her chamber, as she calls it, 
shakes, and folds up her still snow-white apron, 
smooths her rich dress, and with nice care, sets 
on her elegant bonnet, and all the handsome et 
ccetera; then walks down stairs, just at the moment 
that her free black coachman announces to her 
free black footman that the carriage waits. She 
steps into it, and gives the word, " Drive to the 
Dorcas society." Her footman stays at home to 
clean the knives, but her coachman can trust his 
horses while he opens the carriage door, and his 
lady not being accustomed to a hand or an arm, 
gets out very safely without, though one of her 
own is occupied by a work-basket, and the other 
by a large roll of all those indescribable matters 
which ladies take as offerings to Dorcas societies. 
She enters the parlour appropriated for the meet- 
ing, and finds seven other ladies, very like her- 
self, and takes her place among them ; she pre- 
sents her contribution, which is accepted with a 
gentle circular smile, and her parings of broad 
cloth, her ends of ribbon, her gilt paper, and her 
minikin pins, are added to the parings of broad 
cloth, the ends of ribbon, the gilt paper, and the 



minikin pins with which the table is already 
covered ; she also produces from her basket three 
ready-made pincushions, four ink-wipers, seven 
paper-matches, and a paste-board watch-case; 
these are welcomed with acclamations, and the 
youngest lady present deposits them carefully on 
shelves, amid a prodigious quantity of similar 
articles. She then produces her thimble, and 
asks for work ; it is presented to her, and the 
eight ladies all stitch together for some hours. 
Their talk Is of priests and of missions ; of the 
profits of their last sale, of their hopes from the 
next; of the doubt whether young Mr. This, 
or young Mr. That should receive the fruits of it 
to fit him out for Liberia ; of the very ugly bonnet 
seen at church on Sabbath morning, of the very 
handsome preacher who performed on Sabbath 
afternoon, and of the very large collection made 
on Sabbath evening. This lasts till three, when 
the carriage again appears, and the lady and her 
basket return home ; she mounts to her chamber, 
carefully sets aside her bonnet and its appur- 
tenances, puts on her scolloped black silk apron, 
walks into the kitchen to see that all is right, then 


into the parlour, where, having cast a careful 
glance over the table prepared for dinner, she sits 
down, work in hand, to await her spouse. He 
comes, shakes hands with her, spits, and dines. 
The conversation is not much, and ten minutes 
suffices for the dinner ; fruit and toddy, the news- 
paper and the work-bag succeed. In the evening 
the gentleman, being a savant, goes to the Wister 
society, and afterwards plays a snug rubber at a 
neighbour's. The lady receives at tea a young 
missionary and three m embers of the Dorcas 
society. — And so ends her day. 

For some reason or other, which English people 
are not very likely to understand, a great number 
of young married persons board by the year, in- 
stead of " going to house-keeping," as they call 
having an establishment of their own. Of course 
this statement does not include persons of large 
fortune, but it does include very many whose rank 
in society would make such a mode of life quite 
impossible with us. I can hardly imagine a con- 
trivance more effectual for ensuring the insigni- 
ficance of a woman, than marrying her at seven- 
teen, and placing her in a boarding-house. Nor 
E 2 


can I easily imagine a life of more uniform dulness 
for the lady herself; but this certainly is a matter 
of taste. I have heard many ladies declare that it 
is "just quite the perfection of comfort to have 
nothing to fix for oneself." Yet despite these 
assurances I always experienced a feeling which 
hovered between pity and contempt, when I con- 
templated their mode of existence. 

How would a newly-married Englishwoman 
endure it, her head and her heart full of the 
one dear scheme — 

" Well ordered home, his dear delight to make ?" 

She must rise exactly in time to reach the board- 
ing table at the hour appointed for breakfast, or 
she will get a stifi'bow from the lady president, cold 
coifee, and no egg. 1 have been sometimes greatl}^ 
amused upon these occasions by watching a little 
scene in which the bye-play had much more 
meaning than the words uttered. The fasting, 
but tardy lady, looks round the table, and having 
ascertained that there was no egg left, says dis- 
tinctly, " I will take an egg if you please." But 


as this is addressed to no one in particular, no one 
in particular answers it, unless it happen that her 
husband is at table before her, and then he says, 
" There are no eggs, my dear." Whereupon the 
lady president evidently cannot hear, and the 
greedy culprit who has swallowed two eggs (for 
there are always as many eggs as noses) looks 
pretty considerably afraid of being found out. The 
breakfast proceeds in sombre silence, save that 
sometimes a parrot, and sometimes a canary bird, 
ventures to utter a timid note. When it is finished, 
the gentlemen hurry to their occupations, and the 
quiet ladies mount the stairs, some to the first, 
some to the second, and some to the third stories, in 
an inverse proportion to the number of dollars paid, 
and ensconce themselves in their respective cham- 
bers. As to what they do there it is not very easy 
to say ; but I believe they clear-starch a little, and 
iron a little, and sit in a rocking-chair, and sew a 
great deal. I always observed that the ladies 
who boarded wore more elaborately worked collars 
and petticoats than any one else. The plough is 
hardly a more blessed instrmnent in America than 
the needle. How could they live without it ? 
E 3 


But time and the needle wear through the longest 
morning, and happily the American morning is not 
very long, even though they breakfast at eight. 

It is generally about two o'clock that the board- 
ing gentlemen meet the boarding ladies at dinner. 
Little is spoken, except a whisper between the 
married pairs. Sometimes a sulky bottle of wine 
flanks the plate of one or two individuals, but it 
adds nothing to the mirth of the meeting, and 
seldom more than one glass to the good cheer of 
the owners. It is not then, and it is not there, 
that the gentlemen of the Union drink. Soon, 
very soon, the silent meal is done, and then, if 
you mount the stairs after them, you will find 
from the doors of the more affectionate and indul- 
gent wives, a smell of cigars steam forth, which 
plainly indicates the felicity of the couple within. 
If the gentleman be a very polite husband, he 
will, as soon as he has done smoking and drink- 
ing his toddy, offer his arm to his wife, as far as 
the corner of the street, where his store, or his 
office is situated, and there he will leave her to 
turn which way she likes. As this is the hour for 
being full dressed, of course she turns the way she 


can be most seen. Perhaps she pays a few visits ; 
perhaps she goes to chapel ; or, perhaps, she 
enters some store where her husband deals, and 
ventures to order a few notions; and then she 
goes home again — no, not home — I will not give 
that name to a boarding-house, but she re-enters 
the cold heartless atmosphere in which she dwells, 
where hospitality can never enter, and where in- 
terest takes the management instead of affection. 
At tea they all meet again, and a little trickery is 
perceptible to a nice observer in the manner of 
partaking the pound-cake, &c. After this, those 
who are happy enough to have engagements, 
hasten to keep them ; those who have not, either 
mount again to the solitude of their chamber, or, 
what appeared to me much w^orse, remain in the 
common sitting-room, in a society cemented by no 
tie, endeared by no connection, which choice did 
not bring together, and which the slightest motive 
would break asunder. I remarked that the gen- 
tlemen were generally obliged to go out every 
evening on business, and, I confess, the arrange- 
ment did not surprise me. 

It is not thus that the women can obtain that 
E 4 


influence in society which is allowed to them in 
Europe, and to which, both sages and men of the 
world have agi'eed in ascribing such salutary 
effects. It is in vain that " collegiate institutes" 
are formed for young ladies, or that " academic 
degrees" are conferred upon them. It is after 
maniage, and when these young attempts upon all 
the sciences are forgotten, that the lamentable in- 
significance of the American women appears, and 
till this be remedied, I venture to prophesy that 
the tone of their drawing-rooms will not improve. 

Whilst I was at Philadelphia a great deal of 
attention was excited by the situation of two cri- 
minals, who had been convicted of robbing the 
Baltimore mail, and were lying under sentence of 
death. The rare occurrence of capital punishment 
in America makes it always an event of great in- 
terest ; and the approaching execution was re- 
peatedly the subject of conversation at the board- 
ing table. One day a gentleman told us he had 
that morning been assured that one of the criminals 
had declared to the visiting clergyman that he was 
certain of being reprieved, and that nothing the 
clergyman could say to the contrary made any 


impression upon him. Day after day this same 
story was repeated, and commented upon at table, 
and it appeared that the report had been heard in 
so many quarters, that not only was the statement 
received as true, but it began to be conjectured 
that the criminal had some ground for his hope. 
I learnt from these daily conversations that one of 
the prisoners was an American, and the other an 
Irishman, and it was the former who was so 
strongly persuaded he should not be hanged. 
Several of the gentlemen at table, in canvassing 
the subject, declared, that if the one were hanged 
and the other spared, this hanging would be a 
murder, and not a legal execution. In discussing 
this point, it was stated that very nearly all the 
white men who had suffered death since the de- 
claration of Independence had been Irishmen. 
What truth there may be in this general state- 
ment I have no means of ascertaining ; all I know 
is, that I heard it made. On this occasion, how- 
ever, the Irishman was hanged, and the American 
was not. 

E O 



Return to Stonington — Thunder-storm — Emi- 
grants — Illness — Alexandria, 

A FORTNIGHT passed rapidly away in this great 
city, and, doubtless, there was still much left 
unseen when we quitted it, according to previous 
arrangement, to return to our friends in Maryland. 
We came back by a different route, going by land 
from Newcastle to French Town, instead of pass- 
ing by the canal. We reached Baltimore in the 
middle of the night, but finished our repose on 
board the steam-boat, and started for Washington 
at five o'clock the next morning. 

Our short abode amid the heat and closeness of 
a city made us enjoy more than ever the beautiful 
scenery around Stonington. The autumn, which 
soon advanced upon us, again clothed the woods 
in colours too varied and gaudy to be conceived 


by those who have never quitted Europe ; and tlie 
stately maize, waving its flowing tassels, as the 
long drooping blossoms are called, made every 
field look like a little forest. A rainy spring had 
been followed by a summer of unusual heat ; and 
towards the autumn frequent thunder-storms of 
terrific violence cleared the air, but at the same 
time frightened us almost out of our w^its. On 
one occasion I was exposed, with my children, to 
the full fury of one of these awful visitations. We 
suffered considerable terror during this storm, but 
when we were all again safe, and comfortably 
sheltered, we rejoiced that the accident had oc- 
curred, as it gave us the best possible opportunity 
of witnessing, in all its glory, a transatlantic 
thunder-storm. It was, however, great imprudence 
that exposed us to it, for we quitted the house, and 
mounted a hill at a considerable distance from it, 
for the express purpose of watching to advantage 
the extraordinary aspect of the clouds. When 
we reached the top of the hill half the heavens 
appeared hung with a heavy curtain; a sort of 
deep blue black seemed to colour the very air ; the 
buzzards screamed, as w^ith heavy wing they 
E 6 


sought the earth. We ought, in common pru- 
dence, to have immediately retreated to the house, 
but the scene was too beautiful to be left. For 
several minutes after we reached our station, the 
air appeared perfectly without movement, no flash 
broke through the seven-fold cloud, but a flicker- 
ing light was visible, darting to and fro behind 
it; and by degrees the thunder rolled onward, 
nearer and nearer, till the inky cloud burst 
asunder, and cataracts of light came pouring from 
behind it. From that moment there was no in- 
terval, no pause, the lightning did not flash, there 
were no claps of thunder, but the heavens blazed 
and bellowed above and around us, till stupor took 
the place of terror, and we stood utterly con- 
founded. But we were speedily aroused, for sud- 
denly, as if from beneath our feet, a gust arose 
which threatened to mix all the elements in one. 
Torrents of water seemed to bruise the earth by 
their violence ; eddies of thick dust rose up to meet 
them ; the fierce fires of heaven only blazed the 
brighter for the falling flood; while the blast 
almost out-roared the thunder. But the wind was 
left at last the lord of all, for after striking with 


wild force, now here, now there, and bringing 
worlds of clouds together in most hostile contact, 
it finished by clearing the wide heavens of all but 
a few soft straggling masses, whence sprung a 
glorious rainbow, and then retired, leaving the 
earth to raise her half crushed forests ; and we, 
poor pigmies, to call back our frighted senses, and 
recover breath as we might. 

During this gust, it would have been impossible 
for us to have kept our feet ; we crouched down 
under the shelter of a heap of stones, and, as we 
infoimed each other, looked most dismally pale. 

Many trees were brought to the earth before our 
eyes ; some torn up by the roots, and some mighty 
stems snapt off several feet from the ground. If 
the West Indian hurricanes exceed this, they must 
be terrible indeed. 

The situation of Mrs. S****'s house was con- 
sidered as remarkably healthy, and I believe justly 
so, for on more than one occasion, persons who 
were suffering from fever and ague at the distance 
of a mile or two, were perfectly restored by passing 
a week or fortnight at Stonington ; but the neigh- 
bourhood of it, particularly on the side bordering 


the Potomac, was much otherwise, and the mor- 
tality among the labourers on the canal was 

I hav e elsewhere stated my doubts if the labour- 
ing poor of our country mend their condition by 
emigrating to the United States, but it was not till 
the opportunity which a vicinity to the Chesa- 
peake and Ohio canal gave me, of knowing what 
their situation was after making the change, that 
I became fully aware how little it was to be de- 
sired for them. 

Of the white labourers on this canal, the great 
majority are Irishmen ; their wages are from ten 
to fifteen dollars a month, with a miserable lodg- 
ing, and a large allowance of whiskey. It is by 
means of this hateful poison that they are tempted, 
and indeed enabled for a time, to stand the broil- 
ing heat of the sun in a most noxious climate : for 
through such, close to the romantic but unwhole- 
some Potomac, the line of the canal has hitherto 
run. The situation of these poor strangers, when 
they sink at last in " the fever, ^^ which sooner or 
later is sure to overtake them, is dreadful. There 
is a strong feeling against the Irish in every part 


of the Union, but they will do twice as much 
work as a negro, and therefore they are employed. 
When they fall sick, they may, and must, look 
with envy on the slaves around them ; for they are 
cared for ; they are watched and physicked, as a 
valuable horse is watched and physicked : not so 
the Irishman ; he is literally throwTi on one side, 
and a new comer takes his place. Details of their 
sufferings, and unheeded death, too painful to 
dwell upon, often reached us ; on one occasion a 
farmer calling at the house, told the family that a 
poor man, apparently in a dying condition, was 
lying beside a little brook at the distance of a 
quarter of a mile. The spot was immediately 
visited by some of the family, and there in truth 
lay a poor creature, who was already past the 
power of speaking ; he was conveyed to the house, 
and expired during the night. By enquiring at 
the canal, it was found that he was an Irish 
labourer, who having fallen sick, and spent his 
last cent, had left the stifling shantee where he 
lay, in the desperate attempt of finding his way to 
Washington, with what hope I know not. He did 
not appear above twenty, and as I looked on his 


pale young face, which even in death expressed 
suffering, I thought that perhaps he had left a 
mother and a home to seek wealth in America. I 
saw him buried under a group of locust trees, his 
very name unknown to those who laid him there, 
but the attendance of the whole family at the 
grave, gave a sort of decency to his funeral which 
rarely, in that country, honors the poor relics of 
British dust : but no clergyman attended, no 
prayer was said, no bell was tolled ; these, indeed, 
are ceremonies unthought of, and in fact unattain- 
able without much expence, at such a distance 
from a town ; had the poor youth been an Ameri- 
can, he would have been laid in the earth in the 
same unceremonious manner. But had this poor 
Irish lad fallen sick in equal poverty and destitu- 
tion among his own people, he would have found 
a blanket to wrap his shivering limbs, and a kii]- 
dred hand to close his eyes. 

The poor of great Britain whom distress, or a 
spirit of enterprise tempt to try another land, 
ought, for many reasons, to repair to Canada ; 
there they would meet co-operation and sympathy, 
instead of malice, hatred, and all uncharitableness. 


I frequently heard vehement complaints, and 
constantly met the same in the newspapers, of a 
practice stated to be very generally adopted in 
Britain of sending out cargoes of parish paupers 
to the United States. A Baltimore paper heads 
some such remarks with the words 


and then tells us of a cargo of aged paupers just 
arrived from England, adding, " John Bull has 
squeezed the orange, and now insolently casts the 
skin in our faces." Such being the feeling, it will 
be readily believed that these unfortunates are not 
likely to meet much kindness or sympathy in 
sickness, or in suffering of any kind. If these 
American statements be correct, and that different 
parishes are induced, from an excessive popula- 
tion, to pay the voyage and out-fit of some of their 
paupers across the Atlantic, why not send them 
to Canada ? 

It is certain, however, that all the enquiries I 
could make failed to substantiate these American 
statements. All I could ascertain was, that many 
English and Irish poor, anived yearly in the 


United States, with no other resources than what 
their labour furnished. This, though very dif- 
ferent from the newspaper stories, is quite enough 
to direct attention to the subject. It is generally 
acknowledged that the suffering among our labour- 
ing classes arises from the excess of our popula- 
tion ; and it is impossible to see such a country as 
Canada, its extent, its fertility, its fine climate, 
and know that it is British ground, without feeling 
equal sorrow and astonishment that it is not made 
the means of relief. How earnestly it is to be 
wished that some part of that excellent feeling 
which is for ever at work in England to help the 
distressed, could be directed systematically to the 
object of emigration to the Canadas. Large sums 
are annually raised for charitable purposes, by 
weekly subscriptions of one penny ; were only a 
part of the money so obtained to be devoted to 
this object, hundreds of families might yearly be 
sent to people our own land. The religious feel- 
ing, which so naturally mixes with every charit- 
able purpose, would there find the best field for 
its exertions. Where could a missionary, whether 
Protestant or Catholic, find a holier mission than 


that which sent him to comfort and instruct his 
countrymen in the wilderness ? or where could he 
reap a higher reward in this world, than seeing 
that wilderness growing into fertile fields under 

the hands of his flock ? 

* * * , # * * * 

I never saw so many autumn flowers as grow in 
the woods and sheep-walks of Maryland ; a second 
spring seemed to clothe the fields, but with grief 
and shame I confess, that of these precious blos- 
soms I scarcely knew a single name. I think the 
Michaelmas daisy, in wonderful variety of form and 
colour, and the prickly pear, were almost my only 
acquaintance : let no one visit America without 
having first studied botany ; it is an amusement, 
as a clever friend of mine once told me, that helps 
one wonderfully up and down hill, and must be 
superlatively valuable in America, both from the 
plentiful lack of other amusements, and the plen- 
tiful material for enjoyment in this ; besides, if 
one is dying to know the name of any of these 
lovely strangers, it is a thousand to one against his 
finding any one who can tell it. 

The prettiest eclipse of the moon I ever saw 


was that of September, of this year, (1830.) We 
had been passing some hours amid the solemn 
scenery of the Potomac falls, and just as we were 
preparing to quit it, the full moon arose above the 
black pines, with half our shadow thrown across 
her. The effect of her rising thus eclipsed was 
more strange, more striking by far, than watching 
the gradual obscuration ; and as I turned to look 
at the black chasm behind me, and saw the deadly 
alder, and the poison-vine waving darkly on the 
rocks around, I thought the scene wanted nothing 
but the figure of a palsied crone, plucking the fatal 
branches to concoct some charm of mischief. 

Whether some such maga dogged my steps, I 
know not, but many hours had not elapsed ere I 
again felt the noxious influence of an American 
autumn. This fever, " built in th' eclipse," speedily 
brought me very low, and though it lasted not so 
long as that of the preceding year, I felt persuaded 
I should never recover from it. Though my fore- 
bodings were not verified by the event, it was 
declared that change of air was necessary, and it 
was an-anged for me, (for I v/as perfectly incapable 
of settling any thing for myself,) that I should go 


to Alexandria, a pretty town at the distance of 
about fifteen miles, which had the reputation of 
possessing a skilful physician. 

It was not without regret that we quitted our 
friends at Stonington ; but the prescription proved 
in a great degree efficacious ; a few weeks' resi- 
dence in Alexandria restored my strength suffi- 
ciently to enable me to walk to a beautiful little 
gi-assy ten-ace, perfectly out of the town, but very 
near it, from whence we could watch the various 
craft that peopled the Potomac between Alexandria 
and Washington. But though gradually regaining 
strength, I was still far from well ; all plans for 
winter gaiety were abandoned, and finding our- 
selves very well accommodated, we decided upon 
passing the winter where we were. It proved 
unusually severe ; the Potomac was so completely 
frozen as to permit considerable traffic to be car- 
ried on by carts, crossing on the ice, from Mary- 
land. This had not occurred before for thirty 
years. The distance was a mile and a quarter, 
and we ventured to brave the cold, and walk 
across this bright and slippery mirror, to make a 
visit on the opposite shore ; the fatigue of keeping 


our feet was by no means inconsiderable, but we 
were rewarded by seeing as noble a winter land- 
scape around us as the eye could look upon. 

When at length the frost gave way, the melting 
snow produced freshes so violent as to carry away 
the long bridge at Washington ; large fragments 
of it, with the railing still erect, came floating 
down amidst vast blocks of ice, during many suc- 
cessive days, and it was curious to see the intre- 
pidity with which the young sailors of Alexandria 
periled their lives to make spoil of the timber. 

The solar eclipse on the 12th of February, 1831, 
was nearer total than any I ever saw, or ever shall 
see. It was completely annular at Alexandria, 
and the bright ring which surrounded the moon's 
shadow, though only 81^ in breadth, gave light 
sufficient to read the smallest print ; the darkness 
was considerably lessened by the snow, which, as 
the day was perfectly unclouded, reflected brightly 
all the light that was left us. 

Notwithstanding the extreme cold we passed 

the whole time in the open air, on a rising ground 

near the river ; in this position many beautiful 

effects were perceptible ; the rapid approach and 



change of shadows, the dusky hue of the broad 
Potomac, that seemed to drink in the feeble light, 
which its snow- coloured banks gave back to the 
air, the gradual change of every object from the 
colouring of bright sunshine to one sad universal 
tint of dingy purple, the melancholy lowing of the 
cattle, and the short, but remarkable suspension 
of all labour, gave something of mystery and awe 
to the scene that we shall long remember. 

During the following months T occupied myself 
partly in revising my notes, and arranging these 
pages ; and partly in making myself acquainted, 
as much as possible, with the literature of the 

While reading and transcribing my notes, I un- 
derwent a strict self-examination. I passed in 
review all I had seen, all I had felt, and scrupu- 
lously challenged every expression of disapproba- 
tion ; the result was, that I omitted in transcrip- 
tion much that I had written, as containing unne- 
cessary details of things which had displeased me ; 
yet, as I did so, I felt strongly that there was no 
exaggeration in them; but such details, though 
true, might be ill-natured, and I retained no more 


than were necessary to convey the general impres- 
sions I received. Wliile thus reviewing my notes, 
I discovered that many points, which all scribbling 
travellers are expected to notice, had been omitted ; 
but a few pages of miscellaneous observations will, 
I think, supply all that can be expected from so 
idle a pen. 



American Cooking — Evening Parties — Dress — 
Sleighing — Money-getting Habits — Tax-Ga- 
therefs Notice — Indian Summer — Anecdote of 
the Duke of Saxe- Weimar. 

In relating all I know of America, I surely must 
not omit so important a feature as the cooking. 
There are sundry anomalies in the mode of serving 
even a first-rate table ; but as these are altogether 
matters of custom, they by no means indicate 
either indifference or neglect in this important bu- 
siness ; and whether castors are placed on the 
table or on the side-board ; whether soup, fish, 
patties, and salad be eaten in orthodox order or 
not, signifies but little. I am hardly capable, 1 
fear, of giving a very erudite critique on the sub- 
ject ; general observations therefore must sufiice. 
The ordinary mode of living is abundant, but not 



delicate. They consume an extraordinary quan- 
tity of bacon. Ham and beef-steaks appear morn- 
ing, noon, and night. In eating, they mix things 
together with the strangest incongruity imaginable. 
I have seen eggs and oysters eaten together; the 
sempiternal ham with apple-sauce ; beef-steak 
with stewed peaches ; and salt fish with onions. 
The bread is everywhere excellent, but they 
rarely enjoy it themselves, as they insist upon 
eating horrible half-baked hot rolls both morning 
and evening. The butter is tolerable; but they 
have seldom such cream as every little dairy pro- 
duces in England ; in fact, the cows are very 
roughly kept, compared with our's. Common ve- 
getables are abundant and very fine. I never saw 
sea-cale, or cauliflowers, and either from the want 
of summer rain, or the want of care, the harvest 
of green vegetables is much sooner over than with 
us. They eat the Indian corn in a great variety of 
forms; sometimes it is dressed green, and eaten 
like peas ; sometimes it is broken to pieces when 
dry, boiled plain, and brought to table like rice ; 
this dish is called hominy. The flour of it is 
made into at least a dozen different sorts of cakes ; 


but in my opinion all bad. This flour, mixed in 
the proportion of one-third, with fine wheat, makes 
by far the best bread I ever tasted. 

I never saw turbot, salmon, or fresh cod ; but 
the rock and shad are excellent. There is a great 
want of skill in the composition of sauces; not 
only with fish, but with every thing. They use 
very few made dishes, and I never saw any that 
would be approved by our savants. They have an 
excellent wild duck, called the Canvass Back, 
which, if delicately served, would surpass the 
black cock ; but the game is very inferior to our's ; 
they have no hares, and I never saw a pheasant. 
They seldom indulge in second courses, with all 
their ingenious temptations to the eating a second 
dinner ; but almost every table has its dessert, 
(invariably pronounced desart) which is placed on 
the table before the cloth is removed, and consists 
of pastry, preserved fruits, and creams. They are 
" extravagantly fond," to use their own phrase, of 
puddings, pies, and all kinds of *' sweets," parti- 
cularly the ladies ; but are by no means such 
connoisseurs in soups and ragouts as the gas- 
tronomes of Europe. Almost every one drinks 



water at table, and by a strange contradiction, in 
the country where hard drinking is more prevalent 
than in any other, there is less wine taken at 
dinner; ladies rarely exceed one glass, and the 
great majority of females never take any. In fact, 
the hard drinking, so universally acknowledged, 
does not take place at jovial dinners, but, to speak 
plain English, in solitary dram -drinking. Coffee 
is not served immediately after dinner, but makes 
part of the serious matter of tea- drinking, which 
comes some hours later. Mixed dinner parties of 
ladies and gentlemen are very rare, and unless 
several foreigners are present, but little conversa- 
tion passes at table. It certainly does not, in my 
opinion, add to the well ordering a dinner table, 
to set the gentlemen at one end of it, and the 
ladies at the other ; but it is very rarely that you 
find it otherwise. 

Their large evening parties are supremely dull ; 
the men sometimes play cards by themselves, but 
if a lady plays, it must not be for money ; no 
ecarte, no chess ; very little music, and that little 
lamentably bad. Among the blacks, I heard some 
good voices, singing in tune ; but I scarcely ever 


heard a white American, male or female, go through 
an air without being out of tune before the end of 
it ; nor did I ever meet any trace of science in the 
singing T heard in society. To eat inconceivable 
quantities of cake, ice, and pickled oysters — and 
to shew half their revenue in silks and satins, 
seem to be the chief object they have in these 

The most agreeable meetings, I was assured by 
all the young people, were those to which no 
married women are admitted; of the truth of 
this statement T have not the least doubt. These 
exclusive meetings occur frequently, and often last 
to a late hour ; on these occasions, I believe, they 
generally dance. At regular balls, man'ied ladies 
are admitted, but seldom take much part in the 
amuseiiient. The refreshments are always pro- 
fuse and costly, but taken in a most uncomfortable 
manner. I have known many private balls, where 
every thing was on the most liberal scale of ex- 
pense, where the gentlemen sat down to supper in 
one room, while the ladies took theirs, standing, in 

What we call pic-nics are very rare, and when 
F 3 


attempted, do not often succeed well. The two 
sexes can hardly mix for the greater part of a day 
without great restraint and ennui; it is quite 
contrary to their general habits ; the favourite in- 
dulgences of the gentlemen (smoking cigars and 
drinking spirits), can neither be indulged in with 
decency, nor resigned with comj^lacency. 

The ladies have strange ways of adding to their 
charms. They powder themselves immoderately, 
face, neck, and arms, with pulverised starch ; the 
effect is indescribably disagi'eeable by day-light, 
and not very favourable at any time. They are 
also most unhappily partial to false hair, which 
they wear in surprising quantities; this is the 
more to be lamented, as they generally have very 
fine hair of their own. I suspect this fashion to 
arise from an indolent mode of making their toilet, 
and from accomplished ladies' maids not being 
very abundant; it is less trouble to append a 
bunch of waving curls here, there, and every 
where, than to keep their native tresses in perfect 

Though the expense of the ladies' dress greatly 
exceeds, in proportion to their general style of 



liviDg, that of the ladies of Europe, it is very far 
(excepting in Philadelphia) from being in good 
taste. They do not consult the seasons in the colours 
or in the style of their costume ; I have often shivered 
at seeing a young beauty picking her way through 
the snow with a pale rose-coloured bonnet, set on 
the very top of her head : I knew one young lady 
whose pretty little ear was actually frost-bitten 
from being thus exposed. They never wear muffs 
or boots, and appear extremely shocked at the 
sight of comfortable walking shoes and cotton 
stockings, even when they have to step to their 
sleighs over ice and snow. They walk in the 
middle of winter with their poor little toes pinched 
into a miniature slipper, incapable of excluding as 
much moisture as might bedew a primrose. I 
must say in their excuse, however, that they have, 
almost universally, extremely pretty feet. They 
do not walk well, nor, in fact, do they ever appear 
to advantage when in movement. I know not 
why this should be, for they have abundance of 
French dancing-masters among them, but some- 
how or other it is the fact. I fancied I could often 
trace a mixture of affectation and of shyness in 


their little mincing unsteady step, and the ever 
changing position of the hands. They do not 
dance well ; perhaps 1 should rather say they do 
not look well when dancing ; lovely as their faces 
are, they cannot, in a position that exhibits the 
whole person, atone for the want of tournure, and 
for the universal defect in the formation of the 
bust, which is rarely full, or gracefully formed. 

I never saw an American man walk or stand 
well ; notwithstanding their frequent militia drill- 
ings, they are nearly all hollow chested and round 
shouldered: perhaps this is occasioned by no 
officer daring to say to a brother free-born ** hold 
up your head ;" whatever the cause, the effect is 
very remarkable to a stranger. In stature, and in 
physiognomy, a great majority of the population, 
both male and female, are strikingly handsome, 
but they know not how to do their own honours ; 
half as much comeliness elsewhere would produce 
ten times as much effect. 

Nothing can exceed their activity and perse- 
verance in all kinds of speculation, handicraft, and 
enterprise, which promises a profitable pecuniary 
result. I heard an Englishman, who had been 



long resident in America, declare that in following, 
in meeting, or in overtaking, in the street, on the 
road, or in the field, at the theatre, the coffee-house, 
or at home, he had never overheard Americans 
conversing without the word dollar being pro- 
nounced between them. Such unity of purpose, 
such sympathy of feeling, can, I believe, be found 
nowhere else, except, perhaps, in an ants' nest. 
The result is exactly what might be anticipated. 
This sordid object, forever before their eyes, must 
inevitably produce a sordid tone of mind, and, 
w^orse still, it produces a seared and blunted con- 
science on all questions of probity. I know not a 
more striking evidence of the low tone of morality 
which is generated by this universal pursuit of 
money, than the manner in which the New Eng- 
land States are described by Americans. All 
agree in saying that they present a spectacle of 
industry and prosperity delightful to behold, and 
this is the district and the population most con- 
stantly quoted as the finest specimen of their 
admirable country ; yet T never met a single indi- 
vidual in any part of the Union who did not paint 
these New Englanders as sly, grinding, selfish, 
F 5 


and tricking. The Yankees (as the New Eng- 
landers are called) will avow these qualities them- 
selves with a complacent smile, and boast that no 
people on the earth can match them at over- 
reaching in a bargain. I have heard them un- 
blushingly relate stories of their cronies and 
friends, which, if believed among us, would banish 
the heroes from the fellowship of honest men for 
ever; and all this is uttered w^ith a simplicity 
which sometimes led me to doubt if the speakers 
knew what honour and honesty meant. Yet the 
Americans declare that " they are the most moral 
people upon earth." Again and again I have 
heard this asserted, not only in conversation, and 
by their writings, but even from the pulpit. Such 
broad assumption of superior virtue demands exa- 
mination, and after four years of attentive and 
earnest observation and enquiry, my honest con- 
viction is, that the standard of moral character in 
the United States is very greatly lower than in 
Europe. Of their religion, as it appears out- 
wardly, I have had occasion to speak frequently ; 
I pretend not to judge the heart, but, without any 
uncharitable presumption, I must take permission 


to say, that both Protestant England and Catholic 
France shew an infinitely superior religious and 
moral aspect to mortal observation, both as to re- 
verend decency of external observance, and as to 
the inward fruit of honest dealing between man 
and man. 

In other respects I think no one will be disap- 
pointed who visits the country, expecting to find 
no more than common sense might teach him to 
look for, namely, a vast continent, by far the 
greater part of which is still in the state in which 
nature left it, and a busy, bustling, industrious 
population, hacking and hewing their way through 
it. What greatly increases the interest of this 
spectacle, is the wonderful facility for internal 
commerce, furnished by the rivers, lakes, and 
canals, which thread the country in every direc- 
tion, producing a rapidity of progress in all com- 
mercial and agricultural speculation altogether 
unequalled. This remarkable feature is percept- 
ible in every part of the Union into which the 
fast spreading population has hitherto found its 
way, and forms, I think, the most remarkable and 
interesting pecuharity of the country. I hardly 
F 6 


remember a single town where vessels of some 
description or other may not constantly be seen in 
full activity. 

Their carriages of every kind are very unlike 
ours ; those belonging to private individuals seem 
all constructed with a view to summer use, for 
which they are extremely well calculated, but they 
are by no means comfortable in winter. The 
waggons and carts are built with great strength, 
which is indeed necessary, from the roads they 
often have to encounter. The stage-coaches are 
heavier and much less comfortable than those of 
France ; to those of England they can bear no 
comparison. I never saw any harness that I could 
call handsome, nor any equipage which, as to 
horses, carriage, harness, and servants, could be 
considered as complete. The sleighs are delight- 
ful, and constructed at so little expense that I 
wonder we have not all got them in England, lying 
by, in waiting for the snow, which often remains 
with us long enough to permit their use. Sleigh- 
ing is much more generally enjoyed by night than 
by day, for what reason I could never discover, 
unless it be, that no gentlemen are to be found 


disengaged from business in the mornings. No- 
thing, certainly, can be more agreeable than the 
gliding smoothly and rapidly along, deep sunk in 
soft furs, the moon shining with almost mid-day 
splendour, the air of crystal brightness, and the 
snow sparkling on every side, as if it were sprinkled 
with diamonds. And then the noiseless movement 
of the horses, so mysterious and unwonted, and 
the gentle tinkling of the bells you meet and 
carry, all help at once to soothe and excite the 
spirits : in short, I had not the least objection to 
sleighing by night, I only wished to sleigh by day 

Almost every resident in the country has a car- 
riage they call a carryall, which name I suspect to 
be a corruption of the cariole so often mentioned 
in the pretty Canadian story of Emily Montagu. 
It is clumsy enough, certainly, but extremely con- 
venient, and admirably calculated, with its thick 
roof and moveable draperies, for every kind of 
summer excursion. 

Their steam-boats, were the social arrangements 
somewhat improved, would be delightful, as a 
mode of travelling ; but they are very seldom em- 


ployed for excursions of mere amusement : nor do 
I remember seeing pleasure-boats, properly so 
called, at any of the numerous places where they 
might be used with so much safety and enjoyment. 

How often did our homely adage recur to me, 
" All work and no play would make Jack a dull 
boy ;" Jonathan is a very dull boy. We are by 
no means so gay as our lively neighbours on the 
other side the channel, but, compared with Ame- 
ricans, we are whirligigs and tetotums ; every day 
is a holyday, and every night a festival. 

Perhaps if the ladies had quite their own way, 
a little more relaxation would be permitted ; but 
there is one remarkable peculiarity in their man- 
ners which precludes the possibility of any dan- 
gerous out-breaking of the kind : few ladies have 
any command of ready money entrusted to them. 
I have been a hundred times present when bills 
for a few dollars, perhaps for one, have been 
brought for payment to ladies living in perfectly 
easy circumstances, who have declared themselves 
without money, and refeiTcd the claimant to their 
husbands for payment. On every occasion where 
immediate disbursement is required it is the same; 


even in shopping for ready cash they say, " send a 
bill home with the things, and my husband will 
give you a draft." 

I think that it was during my stay at Wash- 
ington, that I was informed of a government regu- 
lation, which appeared to me curious ; I therefore 
record it here. 

Every Deputy Post-Master is required to insert 
in his return the title of every newspaper received 
at his office for distribution. This return is laid 
before the Secretary of State, who, perfectly know- 
ing the political character of each newspaper, is 
thus enabled to feel the pulse of every limb of the 
monster mob. This is a well imagined device for 
getting a peep at the politics of a country where 
newspapers make part of the daily food, but it is 
quite consistent with their entire freedom ? I do 
not believe we have any such tricks to regulate the 
deposal of offices and appointments. 

I believe it was in Indiana that Mr. T. met with 
a printed notice relative to the payment of taxes, 
which I preserved as a curious sample of the 
manner in which the free citizens are coaxed and 
reasoned into obeying the laws. 



" Those indebted to me for taxes, fees, notes, and 
accounts, are specially requested to call and pay 
the same on or before the 1st day of December, 
1828, as no longer indulgence will be given. I 
have called time and again, by advertisement and 
otherwise, to little effect ; but now the time has 
come when my situation requires immediate pay- 
ment from all indebted to me. It is impossible 
for me to pay off the amount of the duplicates of 
taxes and my other debts without recovering the 
same of those from whom it is due. I am at a 
loss to know the reason why those charged with 
taxes neglect to pay ; from the negligence of many 
it would seem that they think the money is mine, or 
that I have funds to discharge the taxes due to the 
State, and that I can wait w^ith them until it suits 
their convenience to pay. The money is not mine ; 
neither have I the funds to settle amount of the 
duplicate. My only resort is to collect ; in doing 
so I should be sorry to have to resort to the au- 
thority given me by law for the recovery of the 
same. It should be the first object of every good 


citizen to pay his taxes, for it is in that way go- 
vernment is supported. Why are taxes assessed 
unless they are collected? Depend upon it I 
shall proceed to collect agreeably to law, so go- 
vern yourselves accordingly. 


" Sh'ff and Collector, D. C. 

''Nov. 20, 1828. 

" N.B. On Thursday, the 27th inst. A. St. Clair 
and Geo. H. Dunn, Esqrs. depart for Indian- 
apolis ; I w^ish as many as can pay to do so, to 
enable me to forward as much as possible, to save 
the twenty- one per cent, that will be charged 
against me after the 8th of December next. 

" J. S." 

The first autumn I passed in America, I was 
surprised to find a great and very oppressive 
return of heat, accompanied with a heavy misti- 
ness in the air, long after the summer heats were 
over ; when this state of the atmosphere comes on, 
they say, " we have got to the Indian summer." 
On desiring to have this phrase explained, I was 


told that the phenomenon described as the Indian 
summer was occasioned by the Indians setting 
fire to the woods, which spread heat and smoke 
to a great distance ; but I afterwards met with the 
following explanation, which appears to me much 
more reasonable. "The Indian summer is so 
called because, at the particular period of the year 
in which it obtains, the Indians break up their 
village communities, and go to the interior to pre- 
pare for their winter hunting. This season seems 
to maik a dividing line, between the heat of 
summer, and the cold of winter, and is from its 
mildness, suited to these migrations. The cause 
of this heat is the slow combustion of the leaves 
and other vegetable matter of the boundless and 
interminable forests. Those who at this season of 
the year have penetrated these forests, know all 
about it. To the feet the heat is quite sensible, 
whilst the ascending vapour warms every thing it 
embraces, and spreading out into the wide atmo- 
sphere, fills the circuit of the heavens with its 
peculiar heat and smokiness." 

This unnatural heat sufficiently accounts for the 
sickliness of the American autumn. The effect of 


it is extremely distressing to the nerves, even when 
the general health continues good ; to me, it was 
infinitely more disagreeable than the glowing 
heat of the dog-days. 

A short time before we arrived in America, the 
Duke of Saxe-Weimar made a tour of the United 
States. I heard many persons speak of his unaf- 
fected and amiable manners, yet he could not 
escape the dislike which every trace of gentlemanly 
feeling is sm'e to create among the ordinary class 
of Americans. As an amusing instance of this, I 
made the following extract from a newspaper. 

" A correspondent of the Charlestown Gazette 
tells an anecdote connected with the Duke of 
Saxe-Weimar's recent journey through our coun- 
try, which we do not recollect to have heard be- 
fore, although some such story is told of the 
veritable Capt. Basil Hall. The scene occurred 
on the route between Augusta and Milledgeville ; 
it seems that the sagacious Duke engaged three or 
four, or more seats, in the regular stage, for the 
accommodation of himself and suite, and thought 
by this that he had secured the monopoly of the 
vehicle. Not so, however ; a traveller came along, 


and entered his name upon the book, and secured 
his seat by payment of the customary charges. 
To the Duke's great surprise on entering the stage, 
he found our traveller comfortably housed in one 
of the most eligible seats, wrapped up in his fear- 
nought, and snoring like a buffalo. The Duke, 
greatly imtated, called for the question of consi- 
deration. He demanded, in broken English, the 
cause of the gross intrusion, and insisted in a very 
princely manner, though not, it seems, in very 
princely language, upon the incumbent vacating 
the seat in which he had made himself so impu- 
dently at home. But the Duke had yet to learn 
his first lesson of republicanism. The driver was 
one of those sturdy southrons, who can always, 
and at a moment's warning, whip his weight in 
wild cats : and he as resolutely told the Duke, that 
the traveller was as good, if not a better man, than 
himself; and that no alteration of the existing 
arrangement could be permitted. Saxe-Weimar 
became violent at this opposition, so unlike any 
to which his education hitherto had ever subjected 
him, and threatened John with the application of 
the bamboo. This was one of those threats which 


in Georgia dialect would subject a man to ^ a row- 
ing up salt river ;' and, accordingly, down leaped 
our driver from his box, and peeling himself for 
the combat, he leaped about the vehicle in the 
most wild-boar style, calling upon the prince of a 
five acre patch to put his threat in execution. 
But he of the star refused to make up issue in the 
way suggested, contenting himself with assuring 
the enraged southron of a complaint to his excel- 
lency the Governor, on amval at the seat of go- 
vernment. This threat was almost as unlucky as 
the former, for it wrought the individual for whom 
it was intended into that species of fury, which, 
though discriminating in its madness, is neverthe- 
less without much limit in its violence, and he 

swore that the Governor might go to , and for 

his part he would just as leave lick the Governor 
as the Duke ; he'd like no better fun than to give 
both Duke and Governor a dressing in the same 
breath ; could do it, he had little doubt, &c. &c. ; 
and instigating one fist to diverge into the face of 
the marvelling and panic-stricken nobleman, with 
the other he thrust him down into a seat alongside 
the traveller, whose presence had been originally 


of such sore discomfort to his excellency, and bid- 
ding the attendants jump in with their discom- 
fited master, he mounted his box in triumph, and 
went on his journey." 

I fully believe that this brutal history would be 
as distasteful to the travelled and polished few 
who are to be found scattered through the Union, 
as it is to me ; but if they do not deem the possi- 
bility of such a scene to be a national degradation, 
I differ from them. The American people, (speak- 
ing of the great mass,) have no more idea of what 
constitutes the difference between this " Prince of 
a five acre patch," and themselves, than a dray- 
horse has of estimating the points of the elegant 
victor of the race- course. Could the dray-horse 
speak, when expected to yield the daintiest stall 
to his graceful rival, he would say, " a horse is a 
horse ;" and is it not with the same logic that the 
transatlantic Houynnhnm puts down all superiority 
with " a man is a man ?" 

This story justifies the reply of Talleyrand, 
when asked by Napoleon what he thought of the 
Americans, '^ Sire, ce sont des fiers cochons, et 
des cochons fiers." 




Literature — Extracts — Fine Arts — Education. 

The character of the American literature is, gene- 
rally speaking, pretty justly appreciated in Europe. 
The immense exhalation of periodical trash, which 
penetrates into every cot and comer of the country, 
and which is greedily sucked in by all ranks, is 
unquestionably one great cause of its inferiority. 
Where newspapers are the principal vehicles of 
the wit and wisdom of a people, the higher graces 
of composition can hardly be looked for. 

That there are many among them who can WTite 
well, is most certain ; but it is at least equally so, 
that they have little encouragement to exercise the 
power in any manner more dignified than becom- 
ing the editor of a newspaper or a magazine. As 
far as I could judge, their best writers are far from 
being the most popular. The general taste is de- 


cidedly bad ; this is obvious, not only from the 
mass of slip-slop poured forth by the daily and 
weekly press, but from the inflated tone of eulogy 
in which their insect authors are lauded. 

To an American writer, I should think it must 
be a flattering distinction to escape the admiration 
of the newspapers. Few persons of taste, I ima- 
gine, would like such notice as the following, 
which I copied from a New York paper, where it 
followed the advertisement of a partnership volume 
of poems by a Mr. and Mrs. Brooks ; but of such, 
are their literary notices chiefly composed. 

^' The lovers of impassioned and classical num- 
bers may promise themselves much gratification 
from the muse of Brooks, while the many-stringed 
harp of his lady, the Noma of the Courier Harp, 
which none but she can touch, has a chord for 
every heart." 

Another obvious cause of inferiority in the 
national literature, is the very slight acquaintance 
with the best models of composition, which is 
thought necessary for persons called well edu- 
cated. There may be reasoi •. for deprecating the 
lavish expense of time bestowed in England on 


the acquirement of Latin and Greek, and it may 
be doubtful whether the power of composing in 
these languages with correctness and facility, be 
worth all the labour it costs ; but as long as letters 
shall be left on the earth, the utility of a perfect 
familiarity with the exquisite models of antiquity, 
cannot be doubted. I think I run no risk of con- 
tradiction, when I say that an extremely small 
proportion of the higher classes in America pos- 
sess this familiar acquaintance with the classics. 
It is vain to suppose that translations may suffice. 
Noble as are the thoughts the ancients have left 
us, their power of expression is infinitely more 
important as a study to modern writers ; and this 
no translation can furnish. Nor did it appear to 
me that their intimacy with modern literature was 
such as to assist them much in the formation of 
style. What they class as modern literature seems 
to include little beyond the English publications 
of the day. 

To speak of Chaucer, or even Spenser, as a 
modern, appears to them inexpressibly ridicu- 
lous; and all the rich and varied eloquence of 
Italy, from Dante to Monti, is about as much 



known to them, as the Welsh effusions of Urien 
and Modred, to us. 

Rousseau, Voltaire, Diderot, &c., were read by 
the old federalists, but now they seem known more 
as naughty words, than as great names. 1 am 
much mistaken if a hundred untravelled Americans 
could be found, who have read Boileau or Le Fon- 
taine. Still fewer are acquainted with that de- 
lightful host of French female writers, whose 
memoirs and letters sparkle in every page with 
unequalled felicity of style. The literature of 
Spain and Portugal are no better known, and as 
for " the wits of Queen Anne's day," they are laid 
en masse upon a shelf, in some score of verj^ old 
fashioned houses, together with Sherlock and 
Taylor, as much too antiquated to suit the im- 
mensely rapid progress of mind which distinguishes 

The most perfect examples of English writing, 
either of our own, or of any former day, have 
assuredly not been produced by the imitation of 
any particular style ; but the Fairy Queen would 
hardly have been written, if the Orlando had not ; 
nor would Milton have been the perfect poet ho 


was, had Virgil and Tasso been unknown to him. 
It is not that the scholar mimics in writing the 
phrases he has read, but that he can neither think, 
feel, nor express himself as he might have done, 
had his mental companionship been of a lower 

They are great novel readers, but the market is 
chiefly furnished by England. They have, how- 
ever, a few very good native novels. JNIr. Flint's 
Francis Berrian is delightful. There is a vigor 
and freshness in his writing that is exactly in 
accordance with what one looks for, in the litera- 
ture of a new country ; and yet, strange to say, it 
is exactly what is most wanting in that of Ame- 
rica. It appeared to me that the style of their 
imaginative compositions was almost always af- 
fected, and inflated. Even in treating their great 
national subject of romance, the Indians, they are 
seldom either powerful or original. A few well 
known general features, moral and physical, are 
presented over and over again in all iheir Indian 
stories, till in reading them you lose all sense of 
individual character. Mr. Flint's History of the 
Mississippi Valley is a work of great interest, and 
G 2 


information, and will, I hope, in time find its way 
to England, where I think it is much more likely 
to be appreciated than in America. 

Dr. Channing is a writer too well known in Eng- 
land to require my testimony to his great ability. 
As a preacher he has, perhaps, hardly a rival any 
where. This gentleman is an Unitarian, and I 
was informed by several persons well acquainted 
with the literary characters of the country, that 
nearly all their distinguished men were of this per- 

Mr. Pierpoint is a very eloquent preacher, and 
a sweet poet. His works are not so well known 
among us as they ought to be. Mr. Everett has 
written some beautiful lines, and if I may judge 
from the specimens of his speeches, as preserved 
in the volumes intitled " Eloquence of the United 
States," I should say that he shone more as a poet 
than an orator. But American fame has decided 

Mr. M. FHnt, of Louisiana, has published a 
volume of poems which ought to be naturalised 
here. Mr. Hallock, of New York, has much fa- 
cility of versification, and is greatly in fashion as 



a drawing-room poet, but I think he has somewhat 
too much respect for himself, and too little for his 

It is, I think, Mr. Bryant who ranks highest as 
the poet of the Union. This is too lofty an emi- 
nence for me to attack ; besides " I am of another 
parish," and therefore, perhaps, no very fair judge. 

From miscellaneous poetry I made a great many 
extracts, but upon returning to them for transcrip- 
tion I thought that ill-nature and dulness, (" oh 
ill-matched pair !") would be more served by their 
insertion, than wholesome criticism. 

The massive Fredoniadof Dr. Emmons, in forty 
cantos, I never read ; but as I did not meet a sin- 
gle native who had, I hope this want of poetical 
enterprise will be excused. 

They have very few native tragedies ; not more 
than half a dozen I believe, and those of very 
recent date. It would be ungenerous to fall 
heavily upon these ; the attempt alone, nearly the 
most arduous a poet can make, is of itself honour- 
able : and the success at least equal to that in any 
other department of literature. 

Mr. Paulding is a popular writer of novels ; 


some of his productions have been recently repub- 
lished in England. Miss Sedgwick is also well 
known among us ; her " Hope Leslie" is a beau- 
tiful story. Mr. Washington Irving and Mr. 
Cooper have so decidedly chosen another field, 
whereon to reap theu' laurels, that it is hardly 
necessary to name them here. 

I am not, of course, competent to form any 
opinion of their scientific works ; but some papers 
which I read almost accidentally, appeared to me 
to be written with great clearness, and neatness of 

It appears extraordinary that a people who 
loudly declare their respect for science, should be 
entirely without observatories. Neither at their 
seats of learning, nor in their cities, does any thing 
of the kind exist ; nor did I in any direction hear 
of individuals, given to the study of astronomy. 

I had not the pleasure of making any acquaint- 
ance with Mr. Bowditch, of Boston, but I know 
that this gentleman ranks very high as a Mathe- 
matician in the estimation of the scientific world 
of Europe. 

Jefierson's posthumous works were very gene- 


rally circulated whilst I was in America. They 
are a mighty mass of mischief. He wrote with 
more perspicuity than he thought, and his hot- 
headed democracy has done a fearful injury to his 
country. Hollow and unsound as his doctrines 
are, they are but too palatable to a people, each 
individual of whom would rather derive his im- 
portance from believing that none are above him, 
than from the consciousness that in his station he 
makes part of a noble whole. The social system 
of Mr. Jefferson, if can-ied into effect, would make 
of mankind an unamalgamated mass of grating 
atoms, where the darling " I'm as good as you," 
would soon take place of the law and the Gospel. 
As it is, his principles, though happily not fully 
put in action, have yet produced most lamentable 
results. The assumption of equality, however 
empty, is sufficient to tincture the manners of the 
poor with brutal insolence, and subjects the rich 
to the paltry expediency of sanctioning the false- 
hood, however deep their conviction that it is such. 
It cannot, I think, be denied that the great men 
of America attain to power and to fame, by eter- 
nally uttering what they know to be untrue. 
G 4 


American citizens are not equal. Did Washington 
feel them to be so, when his word out-weighed, 
(so happily for them,) the votes of thousands ? Did 
Franklin think that all were equal when he shoul- 
dered his way from the printing press to the cabi- 
net ? True, he looked back in high good humour, 
and with his kindest smile told the poor devils 
whom he left behind, that they were all his equals ; 
but Franklin did not speak the truth, and he knew 
it. The great, the immortal Jefferson himself, he 
who when past the three score years and ten, 
still taught young females to obey his nod, and so 
became the father of unnumbered generations of 
groaning slaves, what was his matin and his 
vesper hymn ? '^ All men are bom free and 
equal ?" Did the venerable father of the gang 
believe it ? Or did he too purchase his immortality 
by a lie ? 

From the five heavy volumes of the " Eloquence 
of the United States," I made a few extracts, 
which I give more for the sake of their political 
interest, than for any piu'pose of literary criticism. 

Mr. Hancock, (one of those venerated men who 


signed the act of independence,) in speaking of 
England, thus expresses himself: " But if I was 
possessed of the gift of prophecy, I dare not (except 
by Divine command) unfold the leaves on which 
the destiny of that once powerful kingdom is in- 
scribed." It is impossible not to regret that Mr. 
Hancock should thus have let " I dare not, wait 
upon I would." It would have been exceedingly 
edifying to have known beforehand all the terrible 
things the republic was about to do for us. 

This prophetic orator spoke the modest, yet 
awful words, above quoted, nearly sixty years 
ago ; in these latter days men are become bolder, 
for in a modern fourth of July oration, Mr. Rush, 
without waiting, I think, for divine command, 
gives the following amiable portrait of the British 

" In looking at Britain, we see a harshness of 
individual character in the general view of it, 
which is perceived and acknowledged by all Eu- 
rope ; a spirit of unbecoming censure as regards 
all customs and institutions not their own ; a fero- 
city in some of their characteristics of national 
manners, pervading their very pastimes, which 
G 5 


no other modern people are endued with the 
blunted sensibility to bear ; an universally self- 
assumed superiority, not innocently manifesting 
itself in speculative sentiments among themselves, 
but unamiably indulged when with foreigners, of 
whatever description, in their own country, or when 
they themselves are the temporary sojourners in a 
foreign country ; a code of criminal law that for- 
gets to feel for human frailty, that sports with 
human misfortune, that has shed more blood in 
deliberate judicial severity for two centuries past, 
constantly increasing, too, in its sanguinary hue, 
than has ever been sanctioned by the jurispru- 
dence of any ancient or modem nation, civilized 
and refined like herself; the merciless whippings 
in her army, peculiar to herself alone, the con- 
spicuous commission and freest acknowledgment 
of vice in the upper classes; the overweening 
distinctions shewn to opulence and birth, so de- 
structi\'e of a sound moral sentiment in the nation, 
so bafiling to virtue. These are some of the traits 
that rise up to a contemplation of the inhabitants 
of this isle." 

Where is the alchymy that can extract from 


Captain Hall's work one thousandth part of the 
ill-will contained in this one passage ? Yet 
America has resounded from shore to shore 
with execrations against his barbarous calum- 

But now we will listen to another tone. Let us 
see how Americans can praise. Mr. Everett, in 
a recent fourth of July oration, speaks thus : — 

*' We are authorised to assert, that the era of 
our independence dates the establishment of the 
only perfect organization of government." Again, 
" Our government is in its theor}^ perfect, and in 
its operation it is perfect also. Thus we have 
solved the great problem in human affairs." And 
again, " A frame of government perfect in its 
principles has been brought down from the ?dry 
regions of Utopia, and has found a local habita- 
tion and a name in our coimtry." 

Among my miscellaneous reading, I got hold of 
an American publication giving a detailed, and, 
indeed, an official account of the capture of Wash- 
ington by the British, in 1814. An event so long 
past, and of so little ultimate importance, is, per- 
haps, hardly worth alluding to; but there are 
G 6 


some passages in the official documents which T 
thought very amusing. 

At the very moment of receiving the attack of 
the British on the heights of Bladensburgh, there 
seems to have been a most curious puzzle among 
the American generals, as to where they were to 
be stationed, and what they w^ere to do. It is 
stated that the British threw themselves forward 
in o]3en order, advancing singly. The American 
general (Winden) goes on in his naiTative to de- 
scribe what follow^ed, thus : — 

" Our advanced riflemen now began to fire, 
and continued it for half a dozen rounds, when T 
observed them to run back to an orchard. They 
halted there, and seemed for a moment about 
returning to their original position, but in a few 
moments entirely broke and retired to the left of 
Stansburg's line. The advanced artillery imme- 
diately followed the riflemen." 

" The first three or four rockets fired by the 
enemy were much above the heads of Stansburg's 
line; but the rockets having taken a more hori- 
zontal direction, an universal flight of the centre 
and left of this brigade was the consequence. The 


5th regiment and the artillery still remained, and 
I hoped would prevent the enemy's approach, but 
they advancing singly, their fire annoyed the 5th 
considerably, when I ordered it to retire, to put it 
out of the reach of the enemy. This order was, how- 
ever, immediately countermanded, from an aversion 
to retire before the necessity became stronger, and 
from a hope that the enemy would issue in a body, 
and enable us to act upon him on terms of equality. 
But the enemy's fire beginning to annoy the 5th 
still more, by wounding several of them, and a 
strong column passing up the road, and deploying 
on its left, I ordered them to retire ; their retreat 
became a flight of absolute and total disorder." 

Of Beall's regiment, the general gives the fol- 
lowing succinct account — '^ It gave one or two 
ineffectual fires and fled." 

In another place he says, piteously, — " The 
cavalry would do any thing but charge." 

General Armstrong's gentle and metaphysical 
account of the business was, that—" Without all 
doubt the determining cause of our disasters is to 
be found in the love of life." 

This affair at Washington, which in its result 


was certainly advantageous to America, inas- 
much as it caused the present beautiful capitol to 
be built in the place of the one we burnt, was, 
nevertheless, considered as a national calamity at 
the time. In a volume of miscellaneous poems I 
met with one, written w4th the patriotic purpose 
of cheering the country under it ; one triplet stmck 
me as rather alarming for us, however soothing to 

" Supposing George's house at Kew 
Were burnt, as we intend to do, 
"Would that be burning England too?" * 

I think I have before mentioned that no work 
of mere pleasantry has hitherto been found to an- 
swer ; but a recent attempt of the kind has been 
made, with w^hat success cannot as yet be decided. 
The editors are comedians belonging to the Boston 
company, and it is entitled " The American Comic 
Annual." It is accompanied by etchings, some- 
what in the manner, but by no means with the 
spirit of Cruikshank's. Among the pleasantries 
of this lively volume are some biting attacks upon 
us, particularly upon our utter incapacity of speak- 


iiig English. We really must engage a few x4me- 
rican professors, or we shall lose all trace of classic 
purity in our language. As a specimen, and ra- 
ther a favourable one, of the work, I transcribed 
an extract from a little piece, entitled, " Sayings 
and Doings, a Fragment of a Farce." One of the 
personages of this farce is an English gentleman, 
a Captain Mandaville, and among many speeches 
of the same kind, I selected the following. CoUins's 
Ode is the subject of conversation. 

^' A r, A — a — a it stroiks me that that you 

manetion his the hode about hangger and ope and 
orror and revenge you know. I've eard Mrs. 
Sitdowns hencored in it at Common Garden and 
Doory Lane in the ight of her poplarity you 
know. By the boye, hall the hactin in Amareka 
is werry orrid. You're honely in the hinfancy of 
the istoryonic hart you know; your performers 
never haspirate the haitch in sich vords for in- 
stance as hink and boats, and leave out the w in 
wice wauity you know ; and make nothink of 
homittin the k in somethink." 

There is much more in the same style, but, 
perhaps, this may suffice. I have given this pas- 


sage chiefly because it affords an example of the 
manner in which the generality of Americans are 
accustomed to speak of English pronunciation 
and phraseology. 

It must be remembered, however, here and 
every where, that this phrase, " the Americans," 
does not include the instructed and travelled por- 
tion of the community. 

It would be absurd to swell my little volumes 
with extracts in proof of the veracity of their 
contents, but having spoken of the taste of their 
lighter works, and also of the general tone of 
manners, I cannot forbear inserting a page from 
an American annual, (The Token), which purports 
to give a scene from fashionable life. It is part of 
a dialogue between a young lady of the " highest 
standing " and her " tutor," who is moreover her 
lover, though not yet ackowledged. 

" * And so you wo'nt tell me,' said she, ' what 
has come over you, and why you look as grave 
and sensible as a Dictionary, when, by general 
consent, even mine, " motley's the only wear ?" ' 

" ' Am I so grave, Miss Blair ?' 

" ' Are you so grave, Miss Blair } One would 


think I had not got my lesson to-day. Pray, sir, 
has the black ox trod upon your toe since we 
parted ?' 

" Philip tried to laugh, but he did not succeed ; 
he bit his lip and was silent. 

" ' I am under orders to entertain you, Mr. 
Blondel, and if my poor brain can be made to 
gird this fairy isle, I shall certainly be obedient. 
So I begin witli playing the leech. What ails 
you, sir?' 

" ' Miss Blair ! ' he w^as going to remonstrate. 

'^ ' Miss Blair ! Now, pity, I'm a quack ! for 
whip me, if I know whether Miss Blair is a fever 
or an ague. How did you catch it, sir ?' 

"'Really, Miss Blair— ' 

" * Nay, I see you don't like doctoring ; I give 
over, and now I'll be sensible. It's a fine day, 
Mr. Blondel.' 

" ' Very.' 

" ' A pleasant lane, this, to walk in, if one's 
company were agreeable.' 

" ' Does Mr. Skefton stay long r' asked Philip, 

" ' No one knows.' 


" ' Indeed ! are you so ignorant ?' 

" ' And why does your wisdom ask that ques- 
tion ?' " 

In no society in the world can the advantage of 
travel be so conspicuous as in America. In other 
countries a tone of unpretending simplicity can 
more than compensate for the absence of enlarged 
views or accurate observation ; but this tone is 
not to be found in America, or if it be, it is only 
among those who, having looked at that insig- 
nificant portion of the world not included in the 
Union, have learnt to know how much is still 
unknown within the mighty part which is. For 
the rest, they all declare, and do in truth believe, 
that they only, among the sons of men, have wit 
and wisdom, and that one of their exclusive pri- 
vileges is that of speaking English elegantly. 
There are two reasons for this latter persuasion ; 
the one is, that the great majority have never heard 
any English but their own, except from the very 
lowest of the Irish ; and the other, that those who 
have chanced to find themselves in the society of 
the few educated English who have visited America, 
have discovered that there is a marked difference 


between their phrases and accents and those to 
which they have been accustomed, whereupon they 
have, of course, decided that no Englishman can 
speak English. 

The reviews of America contain some good 
clear-headed articles ; but I sought in vain for the 
playful vivacity and the keenly-cutting satire, 
whose sharp edge, however painful to the patient, 
is of such high utility in lopping off the excres- 
cences of bad taste, and levelling to its native 
clay the heavy growth of dulness. Still less could 
I find any trace of that graceful familiarity of 
learned allusion and general knowledge which 
mark the best European reviews, and which make 
one feel in such perfectly good company while 
perusing them. But this is a tone not to be found 
either in the writings or conversation of Americans ; 
as distant from pedantry as from ignorance, it is 
not learning itself, but the effect of it; and so 
pervading and subtle is its influence that it may 
be traced in the festive halls and gay drawing- 
rooms of Europe as certainly as in the cloistered 
library or student's closet ; it is, perhaps, the last 
finish of highly-finished society. 


A late American quarterly has an article on a 
work of Dr. Von Schmidt Phiseldek, from which 
I made an extract, as a curious sample of the 
dreams they love to batten on. 

Dr. Von Phiseldek (not Fiddlestick), who is 
not only a doctor of philosophy, but a knight of 
Dannebrog to boot, has never been in America, 
but he has written a prophecy, shewing that the 
United States must and will govern the whole 
world, because they are so very big, and have so 
much uncultivated territory ; he prophesies that 
an union will take place between North and South 
America, which will give a death-blow to Europe, 
at no distant period; though he modestly adds 
that he does not pretend to designate the precise 
period at which this will take place. This Danish 
prophecy, as may be imagined, enchants the re- 
viewer. He exhorts all people to read Dr. Phi- 
seldek's book, because " nothing but good can 
come of such contemplations of the future, and 
because it is eminently calculated to awaken the 
most lofty anticipations of the destiny which 
awaits them, and will serve to impress upon the 
nation the necessity of being prepared for such 


high destiny." In another place the reviewer 
bursts out, " America, young as she is, has become 
already the beacon, the patriarch of the struggling 
nations of the world ;" and afterwards adds, '' It 
would be departing from the natural order of 
things, and the ordinary operations of the great 
scheme of Providence, it w^ould be shutting our 
ears to the voice of experience, and our eyes to 
the inevitable connection of causes and their 
effects, were we to reject the extreme probability, 
not to say moral certainty^ that the old world is 
destined to receive its influences in future from 
the new." There are twenty pages of this 
article, but I will only give one passage more ; it 
is an instance of the sort of reasoning by which 
American citizens persuade themselves that the 
glory of Europe is, in reality, her reproach. 
" Wrapped up in a sense of his superiority, the 
European reclines at home, shining in his bono wed 
plumes, derived from the product of every corner of 
the earth, and the industry of every portion of its 
inhabitants, with "which his own natural resources 
would never have invested him, he continues revel- 
ling in enjoyments which nature has denied him." 


The American Quarterly deservedly holds the 
highest place in their periodical literature, and, 
therefore, may be fairly quoted as striking the key- 
note for the chorus of public opinion. Surely it is 
nationality rather than patriotism which leads it 
thus to speak in scorn of the successful efforts of 
enlightened nations to win from every corner of 
the earth the riches which nature has scattered 
over it. 

*^^. ***** 

The incorrectness of the press is very great, 
they make strange work in the reprints of French 
and Italian ; and the Latin, I suspect, does not 
fare much better : I believe they do not often 
meddle with Greek. 

With regard to the fine arts, their paintings, I 
think, are quite as good, or rather better, than might 
be expected from the patronage they receive ; the 
wonder is that any man can be found with courage 
enough to devote himself to a profession in which 
he has so little chance of finding a maintenance. 
The trade of a carpenter opens an infinitely better 
prospect; and this is so well known, that nothing 
but a genuine passion for the art could beguile any 


one to pursue it. The entire absence of every 
means of improvement, and effectual study, is un- 
questionably the cause why those who manifest 
this devotion cannot advance farther. I heard of 
one young artist, whose circumstances did not 
pennit his going to Europe, but who being never- 
theless determined that his studies should, as 
nearly as possible, resemble those of the European 
academies, was about to commence drawing the 
human figure, for which purpose he had provided 
himself with a thin silk dress, in which to clothe 
his models, as no one of any station, he said, could 
be found who would submit to sit as a model 
without clothing. 

It was at Alexandria that I saw^ what I consider 
as the best picture by an American artist that I 
met with. The subject was Hagar and Ishmael. 
It had recently arrived from Rome, where the 
painter, a young man of the name of Chapman, 
had been studying for three years. His mother 
told me that he was twenty-two years of age, 
and passionately devoted to the art; should 
he, on returning to his country, receive suffi- 
cient encouragement to keep his ardour and 


his industiy alive, I think I shall hear of him 

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ yp ^ 

Much is said about the universal diffusion of 
education in America, and a vast deal of genuine 
admiration is felt and expressed at the progress of 
mind throughout the Union. They believe them- 
selves in all sincerity to have surpassed, to be 
surpassing, and to be about to surpass, the whole 
earth in the intellectual race. I am aware that 
not a single word can be said, hinting a different 
opinion, which will not bring down a transatlantic 
anathema on my head; yet the subject is too in- 
teresting to be omitted. Before I left England I 
remember listening, with much admiration, to an 
eloquent friend, who deprecated our system of 
public education, as confining the various and 
excursive faculties of our children to one beaten 
path, paying little or no attention to the peculiar 
powers of the individual. 

This objection is extremely plausible, but doubts 
of its intrinsic value must, I think, occur to every 
one who has marked the result of a different system 
throughout the United States. 


From every enquiry I could make, aud I look 
much pains to obtain accurate information, it ap- 
peared that much is attempted, but very little 
beyond reading, writing, and book-keeping, is tho- 
roughly acquired. Were we to read a prospectus 
of the system pursued in any of our public schools, 
and that of a first-rate seminary in America, we 
should be struck by the confined scholastic routine 
of the former, when compared to tlie varied and 
expansive scope of the latter; but let the exa- 
mination go a little farther, and I believe it will be 
found that the old fashioned school discipline of 
England has produced something higher, and 
deeper too, than that which roars so loud, and 
thunders in the index. 

They will not afford to let their young men 
study till two or three and twenty, and it is there- 
fore declared, ex cathedra Americana^ to be un- 
necessary. At sixteen, often much earlier, educa- 
tion ends, and money-making begins ; the idea 
that more learning is necessary than can be ac- 
quired by that time, is generally ridiculed as ob- 
solete monkish bigotry ; added to which, if the 
seniors willed a more prolonged discipline, the 



juniors would refuse submission. When the 
money-getting begins, leisure ceases, and all of lore 
which can be acquired afterwards, is picked up 
from novels, magazines, and newspapers. 

At what time can the taste be formed ? How 
can a correct and polished style, even of speaking, 
be acquired ? or when can the fruit of the two 
thousand years of past thinking be added to the 
native growth of American intellect ? These are 
the tools, if I may so express myself, which our 
elaborate system of school discipline puts into the 
hands of our scholars ; possessed of these, they 
may use them in whatever direction they please 
afterwards, they can never be an incumbrance. 

No people appear more anxious to excite ad- 
miration and receive applause than the Americans, 
yet none take so little trouble, or make so few 
sacrifices to obtain it. This may answer among 
themselves, but it will not, with the rest of the 
world; individual sacrifices must be made, and 
national economy enlarged, before America can 
compete with the old world in taste, learning, and 

The reception of General Lafayette is the one 


single instance in which the national pride has 
overcome the national thrift ; and this was clearlv 
referable to the one single feeling of enthusiasm of 
which they appear capable, namely, the triumph 
of their successful struggle for national inde- 
pendence. But though this feeling will be uni- 
versally acknowledged as a worthy and lawful 
source of triumph and of pride, it will not serve 
to trade upon for ever, as a fund of glory and high 
station among the nations. Their fathers w^ere 
colonists ; they fought stoutly, and became an 
independent people. Success and admiration, 
even the admiration of those w hose yoke they had 
broken, cheered them while living, still sheds a 
glory rovmd .their remote and untitled sepulchres, 
and will illumine the page of their history for 

Their children inherit the independence ; they 
inherit too the honour of being the sons of brave 
fathers ; but this will not give them the reputation 
at which they aim, of being scholars and gentle- 
men, nor will it enable them to sit down for ever- 
more to talk of their glory, while they drink mint 
julap and chew tobacco, swearing by the beard of 
H 2 


Jupiter (or some other oath) that they are very 
graceful and agreeable, and, moreover, abusing 
every body who does not cry out Amen ! 

To doubt that talent and mental power of every 
kind, exist in America would be absurd ; why 
should it not ? But in taste and learning they are 
woefully deficient ; and it is this which renders 
them incapable of graduating a scale by which to 
measure themselves. Hence arises that over- 
weening complacency and self-esteem, both na- 
tional and individual, which at once renders them 
so extremely obnoxious to ridicule, and so pecu- 
liarly restive under it. 

If they will scorn the process by which other 
nations have become what they avowedly intend 
to be, they must rest satisfied with the praise and 
admiration they receive from each other; and 
turning a deaf ear to the criticisms of the old 
world, consent to be their " own prodigious grea 

Alexandria has its churches, chapels, and con- 
venticles as abundantly, in proportion to its size, 
as any city in the Union. I visited most of them, 


and in the Episcopal and Catholic heard the ser- 
vices performed quietly and reverently. 

The best sermon, however, that I listened to, 
was in a Methodist church, from the mouth of a 
Piquot Indian. It was impossible not to be 
touched by the simple sincerity of this poor man. 
He gave a picture frightfully eloquent of the decay 
of his people under the united influence of the 
avarice and intemperance of the white men. He 
described the effect of the religious feeling which 
had recently found its way among them as most 
salutary. The purity of his moral feeling, and 
the sincerity of his sympathy with his forest 
brethren, made it unquestionable that he must be 
the most valuable priest who could ofliciate for 
them. His English was very correct, and his pro- 
nunciation but slightly tinctured by native accent. 

While we were still in the neighbourhood of 
Washington, a most violent and unprecedented 
schism occurred in the cabinet. The four secre- 
taries of State all resigned, leaving General Jack- 
son to manage the queer little state barge alone. 

Innumerable contradictory statements appeared 
H 3 


upon this occasion in the papers, and many a 
segar was thrown aside, ere half consumed, that 
the disinterested politician might give breath to 
his cogitations on this extraordinary event; but 
not all the eloquence of all the smokers, nor even 
the ultra-diplomatic expositions which appeared 
from the seceding secretaries themselves, could 
throw any light on the mysterious business. It 
produced, however, the only tolerable caricature 
I ever saw in the country. It represents the 
President seated alone in his cabinet, wearing a 
look of much discomfiture, and making great 
exertions to detain one of four rats, who are 
running off, by placing his foot on the tail. The 
rats' heads bear a very sufficient resemblance to 
the four ex-ministers. General Jackson, it seems, 
had requested Mr. Van Buren, the Secretary of 
State, to remain in office till his place was sup- 
plied ; this gave occasion to a hon mot from his 
son, who, being asked when his father would be in 
New York, replied, " When the President takes 
off his foot." 




Journey to New York — Delaware River — Stage- 
coach — City of New York — Collegiate Institute 
for Young Ladies — Theatres — Public Garden — 
Churches — Morris Canal — Fashions — Car- 

At length, spite of the lingering pace necessarily 
attending consultations, and arrangements across 
the Atlantic, our plans were finally settled ; the 
coming spring was to shew us New York, and 
Niagara, and the early summer was to convey us 

No sooner did the letter arrive which decided 
this, than we began our preparations for departure. 
We took our last voyage on the Potomac, we bade 
a last farewell to Virginia, and gave a last day to 
some of our kind friends near Washington. 

The spring, though slow and backward, was 
H 4 


sufficiently advanced to render the jouraey plea- 
sant ; and though the road from Washington to 
Baltimore was less brilliant in foliage than when I 
had seen it before, it still had much of beauty. 
The azalias were in full bloom, and the delicate 
yellow blossom of the sassafras almost rivalled its 
fruit in beauty. 

At Baltimore we again embarked on a gigantic 
steam-boat, and reached Philadelphia in the 
middle of the night. Here we changed our boat, 
and found time, before starting in the morning, to 
take a last look at the Doric and Corinthian por- 
ticos of the two celebrated temples dedicated to 

The Delaware river, above Philadelphia, still 
flows through a landscape too level for beauty, 
but it is rendered interesting by a succession 
of gentlemen's seats, which, if less elaborately 
finished in architecture, and garden grounds, than 
the lovely villas on the Thames, are still beautiful 
objects to gaze upon as you float rapidly past on 
the broad silvery stream that washes their lawns. 
They present a picture of wealth and enjoyment 
that accords well with the noble city to which 


they are an appendage. One mansion arrested 
our attention, not only from its being more than 
usually large and splendid, but from its having 
the monument which marked the family resting- 
place, rearing itself in all the gloomy grandeur of 
black and white marble, exactly opposite the door 
of entrance. 

In Virginia and Maryland we had remarked 
that almost every family mansion had its little 
grave yard, sheltered by locust and cypress trees ; 
but this decorated dwelling of the dead seemed 
rather a melancholy ornament in the grounds. 

We had, for a considerable distance, a view of 
the dwelling of Joseph Bonaparte, which is si- 
tuated on the New Jersey shore, in the midst of 
an extensive tract of land, of which he is the pro- 

Here the ex-monarch has built several houses, 
which are occupied by French tenants. The 
country is very flat, but a terrace of two sides has 
been raised, commanding a fine reach of the Dela- 
ware River ; at the point w^here this terrace forms 
a right angle, a lofty chapel has been erected, 
which looks very much like an observatory ; I 
H 5 


admired the ingenuity with which the Catholic 
prince has united his religion and his love of a fine 
terrestrial prospect. The highest part of the build- 
ing presents, in every direction, the appearance of 
an immense cross ; the transept, if I may so ex- 
press it, being formed by the projection of an 
ample balcony, which surrounds a tower. 

A Quaker gentleman, from Philadelphia, ex- 
claimed, as he gazed on the mansion, " There 
we see a monument of fallen royalty ! Strange ! 
that dethroned kings should seek and find their 
best strong-hold in a Republic." 

There was more of philosophy than of scorn in 
his accent, and his countenance was the symbol 
of gentleness and benevolence ; but I overheard 
many unquakerlike jokes from others, as to the 
comfortable assurance a would-be king must feel 
of a faithful alliance between his head and 

At Trenton, the capital of New Jersey, we left 
our smoothly-gliding comfortable boat for the most 
detestable stage-coach that ever Christian built to 
dislocate the joints of his fellow men. Ten of 
these torturing machines were crammed full of the 


passengers who left the boat with us. The change 
in our movement was not more remarkable than 
that which took place in the tempers and counte- 
nances of our fellow-travellers. Gentlemen who 
had lounged on sofas, and balanced themselves in 
chairs, all the way from Philadelphia, with all the 
conscious fascinations of stiff stays and neck-cloths, 
which, while doing to death the rash beauties 
who ventured to gaze, seemed but a whalebone 
panoply to guard the wearer, these pretty youths 
so guarded from without, so sweetly at peace 
within, now crushed beneath their armour, looked 
more like victims on the wheel, than dandies armed 
for conquest; their whalebones seemed to enter 
into their souls, and every face grew grim and 
scowling. The pretty ladies too, with their ex- 
pansive bonnets, any one of which might hand- 
somely have filled the space allotted to three, — how 
sad the change ! I almost fancied they must have 
been of the race of Undine, and that it was only 
when they heard the splashing of water that they 
could smile. As I looked into the altered eyes of 
my companions, I was tempted to ask, '' Look I 
as cross as you ?" Indeed, I believe that, if pos- 


sible, I looked crosser still, for the roads and the 
vehicle together were quite too much for my phi- 

At length, however, we found ourselves alive on 
board the boat which was to convey us down the 
Raraton River to New York. 

We fully intended to have gone to bed, to heal 
our bones, on entering the steam-boat, but the 
sight of a table neatly spread, determined us to go 
to dinner instead. Sin and shame would it have 
been, indeed, to have closed our eyes upon the 
scene which soon opened before us. I have never 
seen the bay of Naples, I can therefore make no 
comparison, but my imagination is incapable of 
conceiving any thing of the kind more beautiful 
than the harbour of New York. Various and 
lovely are the objects which meet the eye on every 
side, but the naming them would only be to give 
a list of words, without conveying the faintest idea 
oi the scene. I doubt if ever the pencil of Turaer 
could do it justice, bright and glorious as it rose 
upon us. We seemed to enter the harbour of New 
York upon waves of liquid gold, and as we darted 
past the green isles which rise from its bosom, like 


guardian centinels of the fair city, the setting sun 
stretched his horizontal beams farther and farther 
at each moment, as if to point out to us some new 
glory in the landscape. 

New York, indeed, appeared to us, even when 
we saw it by a soberer light, a lovely and a noble 
city. To us who had been so long travelling 
through half-cleared forests, and sojourning among 
an "I'm-as-good-as-you" population, it seemed, 
perhaps, more beautiful, more splendid, and more 
refined than it might have done, had we anived 
there directly from London ; but making every 
allowance for this, I must still declare that I think 
New York one of the finest cities I ever saw, and 
as much superior to every other in the Union, 
(Philadelphia not excepted,) as London to Liver- 
pool, or Paris to Rouen. Its advantages of posi- 
tion are, perhaps, unequalled any where. Situated 
on an island, which T think it will one day cover, 
it rises, like Venice, fi-om the sea, and like that 
fairest of cities in the days of her glory, receives 
into its lap tribute of all the riches of the 

The southern point of Manhatten Island divides 


the waters of the harbour into the north and east 
rivers ; on this point stands the city of New York, 
extending from river to river, and running north- 
ward to the extent of three or four miles. I think 
it covers nearly as much ground as Paris, but is 
much less thickly peopled. The extreme point is 
fortified towards the sea by a battery, and forms 
an admirable point of defence; but in these piping 
days of peace, it is converted into a public pro- 
menade, and one more beautiful, I should suppose, 
no city could boast. From hence commences the 
splendid Broadway, as the fine avenue is called, 
which runs through the whole city. This noble 
street may vie with any I ever saw, for its length 
and breadth, its handsome shops, neat awnings, 
excellent trottoir, and well-dressed pedestrians. 
It has not the crowded glitter of Bond-street 
equipages, nor the gorgeous fronted palaces of 
Regent-street ; but it is magnificent in its extent, 
and ornamented by several handsome buildings, 
some of them suiTOunded by grass and trees. 
The Park, in which stands the noble city- 
hall, is a very fine area. I never found that the 
most graphic description of a city could give me 


any feeling of being there ; and even if others have 
the power, I am very sure I have not, of setting 
churches and squares, and long drawn streets, be- 
fore the mind's eye. I will not, therefore, attempt 
a detailed description of this great metropolis of 
the new world, but will only say that during the 
seven weeks we stayed there, we always found some- 
thing new to see and to admire ; and were it not 
so very far from all the old-world things which 
cling about the heart of an European, I should 
say that I never saw a city more desirable as a 

The dwelling houses of the higher classes are 
extremely handsome, and very richly furnished. 
Silk or satin furniture is as often, or oftener, seen 
than chintz ; the mirrors are as handsome as in 
London ; the cheffoniers, slabs, and marble tables 
as elegant ; and in addition, they have all the 
pretty tasteful decoration of French porcelaine, 
and or-molu in much greater abundance, because 
at a much cheaper rate. Every part of their 
houses is well carpeted, and the exterior finish- 
ing, such as steps, railings, and door-frames, are 
very superior. Almost every house has handsome 


green blinds on the outside; balconies are not 
very general, nor do the houses display, externally, 
so many flowers as those of Paris and London ; 
but I saw many rooms decorated within, exactly 
like those of an European petite maitresse. Little 
tables, looking and smelling like flower beds, port- 
folios, nick-nacks, bronzes, busts, cameos, and 
alabaster vases, illustrated copies of lady-like 
rhymes bound in silk, and, in short, all the pretty 
coxcomalities of the drawing-room scattered about 
with the same profuse and studied negligence as 
with us. 

Hudson Square and its neighbourhood is, I 
believe, the most fashionable part of the town ; 
the square is beautiful, excellently well planted 
with a great variety of trees, and only wanting our 
frequent and careful mowing to make it equal to 
any square in London. The iron railing which 
surrounds this enclosure is as high and as hand- 
some as that of the Tuilleries, and it will give 
some idea of the care bestowed on its decoration, 
to know that the gravel for the walks was con- 
veyed by barges from Boston, not as ballast, but 
as freight. 


The great defect in the houses is their extreme 
uniformity — when you have seen one, you have 
seen all. Neither do I quite like the arrangement 
of the rooms. In nearly all the houses the dining 
and drawing-rooms are on the same floor, with 
ample folding doors between them ; when thrown 
together they certainly make a very noble apart- 
ment ; but no doors can be bamer sufficient be- 
tween dining and drawing-rooms. Mixed dinner 
parties of ladies and gentlemen, however, are very 
rare, which is a great defect in the society ; not 
only as depriving them of the most social and 
hospitable manner of meeting, but as leading to 
frequent dinner parties of gentlemen without 
ladies, which certainly does not conduce to re- 

The evening parties, excepting such as are ex- 
pressly for young people, are chiefly conversa- 
tional ; we were too late in the season for large 
parties, but we saw enough to convince us that 
there is society to be met with in New York, 
which would be deemed delightful any where. 
Cards are very seldom used ; and music, from their 
having very little professional aid at their parties. 


is seldom, I believe, as good as what is heard at 
private concerts in London. 

The Americans have certainly not the same 
hesoin of being amused, as other people; they may 
be the wiser for this, perhaps, but it makes them 
less agreeable to a looker-on. 

There are three theatres at New York, all of 
which we visited. The Park Theatre is the only 
one licensed by fashion, but the Bowery is infi- 
nitely superior in beauty ; it is indeed as pretty a 
theatre as I ever entered, perfect as to size and 
proportion, elegantly decorated, and the scenery 
and machinery equal to any in London, but it is 
not the fashion. Tlie Chatham is so utterly con- 
demned by hoii ton, that it requires some courage 
to decide upon going there ; nor do I think my 
curiosity would have penetrated so far, had I not 
seen Miss Mitford's Rienzi advertised there. It 
was the first opportunity I had had of seeing it 
played, and spite of very indifferent acting, I was 
delighted. The interest must have been great, for 
till the curtain fell, I saw not one quarter of the 
queer things around me : then I observed in the 
front row of a dress-box a lady performing the 



most maternal office possible ; several gentlemen 
without their coats, and a general air of contempt 
for the decencies of life, certainly more than usually 

At the Park Theatre I again saw the American 
Roscius, Mr. Forrest. He played the part of 
Damon, and roared, I thought, very unlike a 
nightingale. I cannot admire this celebrated per- 

Another night we saw Cinderella there; Mrs. 
Austin was the prima donna, and much admired. 
The piece was extremely well got up, and on this 
occasion we saw the Park Theatre to advantage, 
for it was filled with well-dressed company ; but 
still we saw many " yet unrazored lips" polluted 
with the grim tinge of the hateful tobacco, and 
heard, without ceasing, the spitting, which of 
course is its consequence. If their theatres had 
the orchestra of the Feydeau, and a choir of 
angels to boot, I could find but little pleasure, so 
long as they were followed by this running accom- 
paniment of ihoroiigh base. 

Whilst at New York, the prospectus of a 
fashionable boarding-school was presented to me. 


I made some extracts from it, as a specinien of 
the enlarged scale of instruction proposed for 
young females. 

Brooldyn Collegiate Institute 

for Young Ladies, 

Brooklyn Heights, opposite the City of 

New York. 


Sixth Class. 
Latin Grammar, Liber Primus ; Jacob's Latin 
Reader, (first part) ; Modern Geography ; Intel- 
lectual and Practical Arithmetic finished ; Dr. 
Barber's Grammar of Elocution ; Writing, Spell- 
ing, Composition, and Vocal Music. 

Fifth Class, 

Jacob's Latin Reader, (second part) ; Roman 
Antiquities, Sallust; Clark's Introduction to the 
Making of Latin ; Ancient and Sacred Geography ; 
Studies of Poetry ; Short Treatise on Rhetoric ; 
Map Drawing, Composition, Spelling, and Vocal 


Fourth Class. 
Caesar's Commentaries; first five books of 
Virgil's ^neid ; Mythology ; Watts on the Mind ; 
Political Geography, (VVoodbridge's large work) ; 
Natural History ; Treatise on the Globes ; An- 
cient History ; Studies of Poetry concluded ; 
English Grammar, Composition, Spelling, and 
Vocal Music. 


Third Class. 
Virgil, (finished) ; Cicero's Select Orations ; Mo- 
dem History ; Plane Geometry ; Moral Philo- 
sophy; Critical Reading of Young's Poems 
Perspective Drawing; Rhetoric; Logic, Com- 
position, and Vocal Music. 

Second Class, 

Livy ; Horace, (Odes) ;- Natural Theology 
small Compend of Ecclesiastical History ; Fe 
male Biography ; Algebra ; Natural Philosophy, 
(Mechanics, Hydrostatics, Pneumatics, and 
Acoustics) ; Intellectual Philosophy ; Evidences 
of Christianity ; Composition, and Vocal Music. 


First Class. 

Horace, (finished) ; Tacitus; Natural Philosophy, 
(Electricity, Optics, Magnetism, Galvanism) ; 
Astronomy, Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geo- 
logy ; Compend of Political Economy ; Com- 
position, and V^ocal Music. 

The French, Spanish, Italian, or Greek lan- 
guages may be attended to, if required, at any 

The Exchange is very handsome, and ranks 
about midway between the heavy gloom that 
hangs over our London merchants, and the light 
and lofty elegance which decorates the Bourse at 
Paris. The churches are plain, but very neat, 
and kept in perfect repair within and without ; 
but I saw none which had the least pretension to 
splendour ; the Catholic cathedral at Baltimore 
is the only church in America which has. 

At New York, as eveiy where else, they shew 
within, during the time of service, like beds of 
tulips, so gay, so bright, so beautiful, are the long 
rows of French bonnets and pretty faces; rows 
but rarely broken by the unribboned heads of the 



male population ; the proportion is about the 
same as I have remarked elsewhere. Excepting 
at New York, I never saw the other side of the 
picture, but there I did. On the opposite side of 
the North River, about three miles higher up, is a 
place called Hoboken. A gentleman who pos- 
sessed a handsome mansion and grounds there, 
also possessed the right of ferry, and to render 
this productive, he has restricted his pleasure 
grounds to a few beautiful acres, laying out the 
remainder simply and tastefully as a public walk. 
It is hardly possible to imagine one of greater 
attraction; abroad belt of light underwood and 
flowering shrubs, studded at intervals with lofty 
forest trees, runs for two miles along a cliff which 
overhangs the matchless Hudson ; sometimes it 
feathers the rocks down to its very margin, and at 
others leaves a pebbly shore, just rude enough to 
break the gentle waves, and make a music which 
mimics softly the loud choms of the ocean. — 
Through this beautiflil little wood, a broad well- 
gravelled terrace is led by every point which can 
exhibit the scenery to advantage ; narrower and 
wilder paths diverge at intervals, some into the 


deeper shadow of the woods, and some shelving 
gradually to the pretty coves below. 

The price of entrance to this little Eden, is the 
six cents you pay at the feny. We went there on 
a bright Sunday afternoon, expressly to see the 
humours of the place. Many thousand persons 
were scattered through the grounds ; of these we 
ascertained, by repeatedly counting, that nineteen- 
twentieths were men. The ladies were at church. 
Often as the subject has pressed upon my mind, 
I think I never so strongly felt the conviction that 
the Sabbath-day, the holy day, the day on which 
alone the great majority of the Christian world 
can spend their hours as they please, is ill passed 
(if passed entirely) within brick walls, listening to 
an earth-born preacher, charm he never so wisely. 

" Oh ! how can they renounce the boundless store 
Of cliarms, which Nature to her vot'ries yields ! 
The warbling woodland, the resounding shore, 
The pomp of groves, and garniture of fields, 
All that the genial ray of morning gilds. 
And all that echoes to the song of even. 
All that the mountain's sheltering bosom yields, 
And all the dread magnificence of heaven ; 
Oh I how can they renounce, and hope to be forgiven!" 


How is it that the men of America, who are 
reckoned good husbands and good fathers, 
while they themselves enjoy sufficient freedom of 
spirit to permit their walking forth into the temple 
of the living God, can leave those they love best 
on earth, bound in the iron chains of a most 
tyrannical fanaticism ? How can they breathe 
the balmy air, and not think of the tainted at- 
mosphere so heavily weighing upon breasts still 
dearer than their own ? How can they gaze upon 
the blossoms of the spring, and not remember the 
fairer cheeks of their young daughters, waxing 
pale, as they sit for long sultry hours, immured 
with hundreds of fellow victims, listening to the 
roaring vanities of a preacher canonized by a 
college of old women ? They cannot think it 
needful to salvation, or they would not withdraw 
themselves. Wherefore is it ? Do they fear these 
self-elected, self-ordained priests, and offer up 
their wives and daughters to propitiate them ? 
Or do they deem their hebdomadal freedom more 
complete, because their wives and daughters are 
shut up four or five times in the day at church or 
chapel? It is true, that at Hoboken, as every 

YOL. 11. I 


where else, there are reposoires, which, as you 
pass them, blast the sense for a moment, by reek- 
ing forth the fmnes of whiskey and tobacco, and 
it may be that these cannot be entered with a wife 
or daughter. The proprietor of the grounds, how- 
ever, has contrived with great taste to render these 
abominations not unpleasing to the eye ; there is 
one in particular, which has quite the air of a 
Grecian temple, and did they drink wine instead 
of whiskey, it might be inscribed to Bacchus ; 
but in this particular, as in many others, the an- 
cient and modern Republics differ. 

It is impossible not to feel, after passing one 
Sunday in the churches and chapels of New York, 
and the next in the gardens of Hoboken, that the 
thousands of well-dressed men you see enjoying 
themselves at the latter, have made over the 
thousands of well-dressed women you saw ex- 
hibited at the former, into the hands of the priests, 
at least, for the day. The American people 
arrogate to themselves a character of superior 
morality and religion, but this division of their 
hours of leisure does not give me a favourable idea 
of either. 


I visited all the exhibitions in New York. The 
Medici of the Republic must exert themselves a 
little more before these can become even respect- 
able. The worst of the business is, that with the 
exception of about half a dozen individuals, the 
good citizens are more than contented, they are 

The newspaper lungs of the Republic breathe 
forth praise and triumph, nay, almost pant with 
extacy in speaking of their native chef cVoeuvres. I 
should be hardly believed were I to relate the in- 
stances which fell in my way, of the utter igno- 
rance respecting pictures to be found among per- 
sons of the^^r^^ standing in society. Often where 
a liberal spirit exists, and a wish to patronise 
the fine arts is expressed, it is joined to a pro- 
fundity of ignorance on the subject almost incon- 
ceivable. A doubt as to the excellence of their 
artists is very nervously received, and one gentle- 
man, with much civility, told me, that at the pre- 
sent era, all the world were aware that competition 
was pretty well at an end between our two nations, 
and that a little envy might naturally be expected 
to mix with the surprise with which the mother 
1 2 


country beheld the distance at which her colonies 
were leaving her behind them. 

I mnstj however, do the few artists with whom 
I became acquainted, the justice to say, that their 
own pretensions are much more modest than those 
of their patrons for them. I have heard several 
confess and deplore their ignorance of drawing, 
and have repeatedly remarked a sensibility to the 
merit of European artists, though perhaps only 
known by engravings, and a deference to their 
authority, which shewed a genuine feeling for the 
art. In fact, I think that there is a very consider- 
able degree of natural talent for painting in Ame- 
rica, but it has to make its way through darkness 
and thick night. When an academy is founded, 
their first care is to hang the walls of its exhibition- 
room with all the unutterable trash that is offered 
to them. No living models are sought for ; no dis- 
cipline as to the manner of study is enforced. 
Boys who know no more of the human form, than 
they do of the eyes, nose, and mouth in the 
moon, begin painting portraits. If some of them 
would only throw away their palettes for a year, 
and learn to draw ; if they would attend anato- 


iiiical lectures, and take notes, not in words, but 
in forms, of joints and muscles, their exhibitions 
would soon cease to be so utterly below criticism. 

The most interesting exhibition open when I 
was there was, decidedly, Colonel Trumbold's ; 
and how the patriots of America can permit this 
truly national collection to remain a profitless bur- 
den on the hands of the artist, it is difficult to 
understand. Many of the sketches are masterly ; 
but like his illustrious countryman, West, his 
sketches are his chef cVoeunres. 

I can imagine nothing more perfect than the 
interior of the public institutions of New York. 
There is a practical good sense in all their ar- 
rangements that must strike foreigners very for- 
cibly. The Asylum for the Destitute offers a hint 
worth taking. It is dedicated to the reformation 
of youthful offenders of both sexes, and it is as 
admirable in the details of its management, as in 
its object. Every part of the institution is deeply 
interesting ; but there is a difference very remark- 
able between the boys and the girls. The boys 
are, I think, the finest set of lads I ever saw 
brought together ; bright looking, gay, active, and 
I 3 


full of intelligence. The girls are exactly the 
reverse; heavy, listless, indifferent, and melan- 
choly. In conversing with the gentleman who is 
the general superintendant of the establishment, I 
made the remark to him, and he told me, that the 
reality corresponded with the appearance. All of 
them had been detected in some act of dishonesty ; 
but the boys, when removed from the evil influ- 
ence which had led them so to use their ingenuity, 
rose like a spring when a pressure is withdrawn ; 
and feeling themselves once more safe from danger, 
and from shame, hope and cheerfulness animated 
every countenance. But the poor girls, on the con- 
trary, can hardly look up again. They are as dif- 
ferent as an oak and a lily after a stonn. The one, 
when the fresh breeze blows over it, shakes the rain- 
drops from its crest, and only looks the brighter ; 
the other, its silken leaves once soiled, shrinks from 
the eye, and is levelled to the earth for ever. 

We spent a delightful day in New Jersey, in 
visiting, with a most agreeable party, the inclined 
planes, which are used instead of locks on the 
Morris canal. 


This is a very interesting work ; it is one among 
a thousand which prove the peo23le of America to 
be the most enterprising in the world. I was in- 
formed that this important canal, which connects 
the waters of the Hudson and the Delaware, is a 
hundred miles long, and in this distance overcomes 
a variation of level amounting to sixteen hundred 
feet. Of this, fourteen hundred are achieved by 
inclined planes. The planes average about sixty 
feet of perpendicular lift each, and are to support 
about forty tons. The time consumed in passing 
them is twelve minutes for one hundred feet of 
perpendicular rise. The expense is less than a 
third of what locks would be for surmounting the 
same rise. If we set about any more canals, this 
may be w-orth attending to. 

This Morris cana certainly an extraordinary 
work ; it not only varies its level sixteen hundred 
feet, but at one point runs along the side of a 
mountain at thirty feet above the tops of the 
highest buildings in the town of Paterson, below ; 
at another it crosses the falls of the Passaic in a 
stone aqueduct sixty feet above the water in the 
river. This noble work, in a great degree, owes 
I 4 


its existence to the patriotic and scientific energy 
of Mr. Cadvvallader Golden. 

There is no point in the national character of 
the Americans which commands so much respect 
as the boldness and energy with which public 
Avorks are undertaken and carried through. No- 
thing stops them if a profitable result can be fairly 
hoped for. It is this which has made cities spring 
up amidst the forests with such inconceivable ra- 
pidity ; and could they once be thoroughly per- 
suaded that any point of the ocean had a hoard of 
dollars beneath it, I have not the slightest doubt 
that in about eighteen months we should see a 
snug covered rail-road leading direct to the spot. 
I was told at New York, that in many parts of 
the state it was usual to pay the service of the 
Presbyterian ministers in the following manner. 
Once a year a day is fixed on which sonie member 
of every family in a congregation meet at their 
minister's house in the afternoon. They each 
bring an offering (according to their means) of 
articles necessary for house-keeping. The poorer 
members leave their contributions in a large 

::-:.. irJ'^:^^^ti.^m'.: 


basket, placed for the purpose, close to the door 
of entrance. Those of more importance, and 
more calculated to do honour to the piety of the 
donors, are carried into the room where the com- 
pany is assembled. Sugar, coffee, tea, cheese, 
barrels of flour, pieces of Irish linen, sets of china 
and of glass, were among the articles mentioned to 
me as usually making parts of these offerings. 
After the party is assembled, and the business of 
giving and receiving is dispatched, tea, coffee, 
and cakes are handed round ; but these are not 
furnished at any expense either of trouble or 
money to the minister, for selected ladies of the 
congregation take the whole arrangement upon 
themselves. These meetings are called spinning 

Another New York custom, which does not 
seem to have so reasonable a cause, is the chang- 
ing house once a year. On the 1st of May the 
city of New York has the appearance of sending 
off a population flying from the plague, or of a 
town which had surrendered on condition of carry- 
ing away all their goods and chattels. Rich 
fiimiture and ragged furniture, carts, waggons, and 
I 5 


drays, ropes, canvas, and straw, packers, porters, 
and draymen, white, yellow, and black, occupy the 
streets from east to west, from north to south, on 
this day. Every one I spoke to on the subject 
complained of this custom as most annoying, but 
all assured me it was unavoidable, if you inhabit a 
rented house. More than one of my New York 
friends have built or bought houses solely to avoid 
this annual inconvenience. 

There are a great number of negroes in New 
York, all free ; their emancipation having been 
completed in 1827. Not even in Philadelphia, 
where the anti-slavery opinions have been the 
most active and violent, do the blacks appear to 
wear an air of so much consequence as they do at 
New York. They have several chapels, in which 
negro ministers officiate ; and a theatre in which 
none but negroes perform. At this theatre a gal- 
lery is appropriated to such whites as choose to 
^'isit it ; and here only are they permitted to sit ; 
following in this, with nice etiquette, and equal 
justice, the arrangement of the white theatres, in 
all of which is a gallery appropriated solely to the 
use of the blacks. 1 have often, particularly on a 

Sfc'iige J78. 

\ .■ 



Sunday, met groups of negroes, elegantly dressed ; 
and have been sometimes amused by observing 
the very superior air of gallantry assumed by the 
men, when in attendance on their belles, to that 
of the whites in similar circumstances. On one 
occasion we met in Broadway a young negress in 
the extreme of the fashion, and accompanied by a 
black beau, whose toilet was equally studied ; 
eye-glass, guard-chain, nothing was omitted ; he 
walked beside his sable goddess uncovered, and 
with an air of the most tender devotion. At the 
w^indow of a handsome house which they were 
passing, stood a very pretty white girl, with two 
gentlemen beside her ; but alas ! both of them had 
their hats on, and one was smoking ! 

If it were not for the peculiar manner of walk- 
ing, which distinguishes all American women, 
Broadway might be taken for a French street, 
where it w^as the fashion for very smart ladies to 
promenade. The dress is entirely French ; not 
an article (except perhaps the cotton stockings) 
must be English, on pain of being stigmatized as 
out of the fashion. Every thing English is de- 
cidedly mauvais ton ; English materials, English 
I 6 


fashions, English accent, English manner, are all 
terms of reproach ; and to say that an unfortunate 
looks like an English woman, is the cruellest satire 
which can be uttered. 

I remember visiting France almost immediately 
after we had made the most offensive invasion of 
her teiTitory that can well be imagined, yet, 
despite the feelings which lengthened years of 
war must have engendered, it was the fashion to 
admire every thing English. I suppose family 
quarrels are more difficult to adjust; for fifteen 
years of peace have not been enough to calm the 
angry feelings of brother Jonathan towards the 
land of his fathers, 

" The which he hateth passing well." 

It is hardly needful to say that the most cour- 
teous amenity of manner distinguishes the recep- 
tion given to foreigners by the patrician class of 
Americans. -^ 

Gentlemen, in the old world sense of the term, 
are the same every where \ and an American gen- 
tleman and his family know how to do the ho- 
nours of their country to strangers of every nation, 


as well as any people on earth. But this class, 
though it decidedly exists, is a very small one, 
and cannot, in justice, be represented as affording 
a specimen of the whole. 

Most of the houses in New York are painted on 
the outside, but in a manner carefully to avoid 
disfiguring the material which it preserves : on the 
contrary, nothing can be neater. They are now 
using a great deal of a beautiful stone called Jersey 
freestone ; it is of a wann rich brown, and ex- 
tremely ornamental to the city wherever it has 
been employed. They have also a grey granite 
of great beauty. The trottoir paving in most of 
the streets is extremely good, being of large flag 
stones, very superior to the bricks of Philadelphia. 

At night the shops, which are open till very late, 
are brilliantly illuminated with gas, and all the 
population seem as much alive as in London or 
Paris. This makes the solemn stillness of the 
evening hours in Philadelphia still more remark- 

There are a few trees in different parts of the 
city, and I observed many young ones planted, 


and guarded with much care ; were they more 
abundant it would be extremely agreeable, for the 
reflected light of their fierce summer sheds intole- 
rable day. 

Ice is in profuse abundance ; I do not imagine 
that there is a house in the city without the luxury 
of a piece of ice to cool the water, and harden the 

The hackney coaches are the best in the world, 
but abominably dear, and it is necessary to be on 
the qui rive in making your bargain with the 
driver ; if you do not, he has the power of charging 
immoderately. On my first experiment 1 neglected 
this, and was asked two dollars and a half for an 
excursion of twenty minutes. When I refeiTed to 
the waiter of the hotel, he asked if I had made a 
bargain. ''No." "Then I expect" (with the 
usual look of triumph) " that the Yankee has been 
too smart for you." 

The private carriages of New York are infinitely 
handsomer and better appointed than any I saw 
elsewhere ; the want of smart liveries destroys 
much of the gay effect, but, on the whole, a New 
York summer equipage, with the pretty women 


and beautiful children it contains, look extremely 
well in Broadway, and would not be much amiss 
any where. 

The luxury of the New York aristocracy is not 
confined to the city ; hardly an acre of Man- 
hatten Island but shews some pretty villa or stately 
mansion. The most chosen of these are on the 
north and east rivers, to whose margins their 
lawns descend. Among these, perhaps, the love- 
liest is one situated in the beautiful village of 
Bloomingdale ; here, within the space of sixteen 
acres, almost every variety of garden scenery may 
be found. To describe all its diversity of hill and 
dale, of wood and lawn, of rock and river, would 
be in vain ; nor can I convey an idea of it by 
comparison, for I never saw any thing like it. 
How far the elegant hospitality which reigns 
there may influence my impressions, 1 know not ; 
but, assuredly, no spot I have ever seen dwells 
more freshly on my memory, nor did I ever find 
myself in a circle more calculated to give delight 
in meeting, and regi'et at parting, than that of 



Reception of Captain Basil Hall's Book in the 
United States. 

Having now arrived nearly at the end of our 
travels, I am induced, ere I conclude, again to 
mention what I consider as one of the most re- 
markable traits in the national character of the 
Americans ; namely, their exquisite sensitiveness 
and soreness respecting every thing said or written 
concerning them. Of this, perhaps, the most re- 
markable example I can give, is the effect pro- 
duced on nearly every class of readers by the 
appearance of Captain Basil Hall's " Travels in 
North America." In fact, it was a sort of moral 
earthquake, and the vibration if occasioned through 
the nerves of the Republic, from one corner of the 
Union to the other, was by no means over when I 
left the country in July, 1831, a couple of years 
after the shock. 


T was in Cincinnati when these volumes came 
out, but it was not till July, 1830, that I procured 
a copy of them. One bookseller to whom I ap- 
plied, told me that he had had a few copies before 
he understood the nature of the work, but that 
after becoming acquainted with it, nothing should 
induce him to sell another. Other persons of his 
profession must, however, have been less scrupu- 
lous, for the book was read in city, town, village, 
and hamlet, steam-boat, and stage-coach, and a 
sort of war-whoop was sent forth perfectly unpre- 
cedented in my recollection upon any occasion 

It was fortunate for me that I did not pro- 
cure these volumes till I had heard them very 
generally spoken of, for the curiosity I felt to know 
the contents of a work so violently anathematised, 
led me to make enquiries which elicited a great 
deal of curious feeling. 

An ardent desire for approbation, and a delicate 
sensitiveness under censure, have always, I believe, 
been considered as amiable traits of character ; but 
the condition into which the appearance of Capt. 
Hall's work threw the Republic, shews plainly that 


these feelings, if earned to excess, produce a weak- 
ness which amounts to imbecility. 

It was perfectly astonishing to hear men, who, 
on other subjects, were of some judgement, utter 
their opinions upon this. I never heard of any 
instance in which the common sense generally 
found in national criticism, was so overthrown by 
passion. I do not speak of the want of justice, 
and of fair and liberal interpretation : these, per- 
haps, were hardly to be expected. Other nations 
have been called thin-skinned, but the citizens of 
the Union have, apparently, no skins at all ; they 
wince if a breeze blows over them, unless it be 
tempered with adulation. It was not, therefore, 
very surprising that the acute and forcible obser- 
vations of a traveller they knew would be listened 
to, should be received testily. The extraordinary 
features of the business were, first, the excess of 
the rage into which they lashed themselves ; and, 
secondly, the puerility of the inventions by which 
they attempted to account for the severity with 
which they fancied they had been treated. 

Not content with declaring that the volumes 
contained no word of truth from beginning to end. 


(which is an assertion I heard made very nearly as 
often as they were mentioned,) the whole country 
set to work to discover the causes why Capt. Hall 
had visited the United States, and why he had 
published his book. 

I have heard it said with as much precision and 
gravity as if the statement had been conveyed by 
an official report, that Capt. Hall had been sent 
out by the British government expressly for the 
purpose of checking the growing admiration of 
England for the government of the United States, 
— that it was by a commission from the Treasury 
he had come, and that it was only in obedience to 
orders that he had found any thing to object to. 

I do not give this as the gossip of a coterie ; I 
am persuaded that it is the belief of a very con- 
siderable portion of the country. So deep is the 
conviction of this singular people that they cannot 
be seen without being admired, that they will not 
admit the possibility that any one should honestly 
and sincerely find aught to disapprove in them, or 
their country. 

At Philadelphia I met with a little anonymous 
book, written to shew that Capt. Basil Hall was in 


no way to be depended on, for that he not only 
slandered the Americans, but was himself, in other 
respects, a person of very equivocal morals. One 
proof of this is given by a quotation of the follow- 
ing playful account of the distress occasioned by 
the want of a bell. The commentator calls it an 
instance of *' shocking coarseness." 

" One day I was rather late for breakfast, and 
as there was no water in my jug, I set off, post 
haste, half shaved, half dressed, and more than 
half vexed, in quest of water, like a seaman on 
short allowance, hunting for rivulets on some un- 
known coast. I went up stairs, and down stairs, 
and in the course of my researches into half a 
dozen different apartments, might have stumbled 
on some lady's chamber, as the song says, which 
considering the plight I was in, would have been 
awkward enough." 

Another indication of this moral coarseness is 
pointed out in the passage where Capt. Hall says, 
he never saw a flirtation all the time he was in the 

The charge of ingratitude also was echoed from 
mouth to mouth. That he should hims<3lf bear 


testimony to the unvarying kindness of the recep- 
tion he met with, and yet find fault with the 
country, was declared on all hands to be a proof 
of the most abominable ingratitude that it ever 
entered into the heart of man to conceive. I once 
ventured before about a dozen people to ask whe- 
ther more blame would not attach to an author, if 
he suffered himself to be bribed by individual 
kindness to falsify facts, than if, despite all per- 
sonal considerations, he stated them truly ? 

" Facts !" cried the whole circle at once, " facts ! 
I tell you there is not a word of fact in it from be- 
ginning to end." 

The American Reviews are, many of them, I 
believe, well known in England ; I need not, 
therefore, quote them here, but I sometimes won- 
dered that they, none of them, ever thought of 
translating Obadiah's curse into classic American ; 
if they had done so, only placing (he, Basil Hall,) 
between brackets, instead of (he, Obadiah,) it 
would have saved them a world of trouble. 

T can hardly describe the curiosity with which 
I sat do^v^n at length to peruse these tremendous 
volumes ; still less can I do justice to my surprise 


at their contents. To say that I found not one 
exaggerated statement throughout the work, is by 
no means saying enough. It is impossible for any 
one who knows the country not to see that Captain 
Hall earnestly sought out things to admire and 
commend. When he praises, it is with evident 
pleasure, and when he finds fault, it is with evident 
reluctance and restraint, excepting where motives 
purely patriotic urge him to state roundly what it is 
for the benefit of his country should be known. 

In fact. Captain Hall saw the country to the 
gi'eatest possible advantage. Furnished, of course, 
with letters of introduction to the most distin- 
guished individuals, and with the still more in- 
fluential recommendation of his own reputation, he 
was received in full drawing-room style and state 
fi-om one end of the Union to the other. He saw 
the country in full dress, and had little or no op- 
portunity of judging of it unhouselled, unanointed, 
unannealed, with all its imperfections on its head, 
as I and my family too often had. 

Captain Hall had certainly excellent opportu- 
nities of making himself acquainted with the form 
of the government and the laws ; and of receiving, 


moreover, the best oral commentary upon them, in 
conversation with the most distinguished citizens. 
Of these opportunities he made excellent use ; 
nothing important met his eye which did not re- 
ceive that sort of analytical attention which an 
experienced and philosophical traveller alone can 
give. This has made his volumes highly interest- 
ing and valuable ; but I am deeply persuaded, 
that were a man of equal penetration to visit the 
United States with no other means of becoming 
acquainted with the national character than the 
ordinary working-day intercourse of life, he would 
conceive an infinitely lower idea of the moral at- 
mosphere of the country than Captain Hall ap- 
pears to have done ; and the internal conviction 
on my mind is strong, that if Captain Hall had 
not placed a firm restraint on himself, he must 
have given expression to far deeper indignation 
than any he has uttered against many points in 
the American character, with which he shews, 
from other circumstances, that he was well ac- 
quainted. His rule appears to have been to state 
just so much of the truth as would leave on the 
minds of his readers a correct impression, at the 


least cost of pain to the sensitive folks he was 
writing about. He states his own opinions and 
feelings, and leaves it to be inferred that he has 
good grounds for adopting them ; but he spares 
the Americans the bitterness which a detail of the 
circumstances would have produced. 

If any one chooses to say that some wicked anti- 
pathy to twelve millions of strangers is the origin 
of my opinion, I must bear it ; and were the ques- 
tion one of mere idle speculation, I certainly would 
not court the abuse I must meet for stating it. 
But it is not so. T know that among the best, the 
most pious, the most benevolent of my country- 
men, there are hundreds, nay, I fear thousands, 
who conscientiously believe that a greater degree 
of political and religious liberty (such as is pos- 
sessed in America) would be beneficial for us. 
How often have I wished, during my abode in the 
United States, that one of these conscientious, but 
mistaken reasoners, fully possessed of his country's 
confidence, could pass a few years in the United 
States, sufficiently among the mass of the citizens 
to know them, and sufficiently at leisure to trace 
effects to their causes. Then might we look for a 


statement which would teach these mistaken phil- 
anthropists to tremble at every symptom of demo- 
cratic power among us ; a statement which would 
make even our sectarians shudder at the thought 
of hewing down the Established Church, for they 
w^ould be taught, by fearful example, to know that 
it was the bulwark which protects us from the 
gloomy horrors of fanatic superstition on one side, 
and the still more dreadful inroads of infidelity on 
the other. And more than all, such a man would 
see as clear as light, that w-here every class is oc- 
cupied in getting money, and no class in spending 
it, there will neither be leisure for worshipping the 
theory of honesty, nor motive strong enough to 
put its restrictive doctrines in practice. Where 
every man is engaged in driving hard bargains 
with his fellows, where is the honoured class to be 
found into which gentlemanlike feelings, prin- 
ciples, and practice, are necessary as an intro- 
duction ? 

That there are men of powerful intellect, bene- 
volent hearts, and high moral feeling in America, 
I know^ ; and I could, if challenged to do so, name 
individuals surpassed by none of any country in 



these qualities ; but they are excellent, despite 
their institutions, not in consequence of them. It 
is not by such that Captain Hall's statements are 
called slanders, nor is it from such that I shall 
meet the abuse which I well know these pages 
will inevitably draw upon me ; and I only trust I 
may be able to muster as much self-denial as my 
predecessor, who asserts in his recently published 
" Fragments," that he has read none of the Ame- 
rican criticisms on his boot. He did wisely, if he 
wished to retain an atom of his kindly feeling 
toward America, and he has, assuredly, lost but 
little on the score of information, for these cri- 
ticisms, generally speaking, consist of mere down- 
right personal abuse, or querulous complaints of 
his ingratitude and ill usage of them ; complaints 
which it is quite astonishing that any persons of 
spirit could indulge in. 

The following good-humoured paragraphs from 
the Fragments, must, I think, rather puzzle the 
Americans. Possibly they may think that Captain 
Hall is quizzing them, when he says he has read 
none of their criticisms ; but I think there is in 
these passages internal evidence that he has not 


seen them. For if he had read one-fiftieth part of 
the vituperation of his Travels, which it has been 
my misfortune to peruse, he couhl hardly have 
brought himself to write what follows. 

If the Americans still refuse to shake the hand 
proffered to them in the true old John Bull spirit, 
they are worse folks than even I take them for. 

Captain Hall, after describing the hospitable 
reception he formerly met with, at a boarding- 
house in New York, goes on thus : — " If our 
hostess be still alive, I hope she will not repent of 
having bestowed her obliging attentions on one, 
who so many yeais afterwards made himself, he 
fears, less popular in her land, than he could wish 
to be amongst a people to whom he owes so much, 
and for whom he really feels so much kindness. 
He still anxiously hopes, however, they will be- 
lieve him, when he declares, that, having said in 
his recent publication no more than what he con- 
ceived was due to strict truth, and to the integrit} 
of history, as far as his observations and opinions 
went, he still feels, as he always has, and ever 
must continue to feel towards America, the heartiest 

good- will. 

K 2 


" The Americans are perpetually repeating that 
the foundation-stone of their liberty is fixed on 
the doctrine, that every man is free to form his 
own opinions, and to promulgate them in candour, 
and in moderation. Is it meant that a foreigner 
is excluded from these privileges ? If not, may I 
ask, in what respect have I passed these limita- 
tions ? The Americans have surely no fair right 
to be offended because my views differ from 
their's; and yet I am told I have been rudely 
handled by the press of that country. If my 
motives are distrusted, I can only say, I am sorely 
belied. If I am mistaken, regret at my political 
blindness were surely more dignified than anger on 
the part of those with whom I differ; and if it 
shall chance that I am in the right, the best con- 
firmation of the correctness of my views, in the 
opinion of indifferent persons, will perhaps be 
found in the soreness of those, who wince when the 
truth is spoken. 

" Yet, after all, few things would give me more 
real pleasure, than to know that my friends across 
the water would consent to take me at my word ; 
and, considering what I have said about them as 


SO much public matter, which it truly is, agree to 
reckon me, in my absence, as they always did, 
when I was amongst them, and, I am sure, they 
would count me, if I went back again, as a private 
friend. I differed with them in politics, and I 
differ with them now as much as ever ; but I sin- 
cerely wish them happiness individually ; and, as 
a nation, I shall rejoice if they prosper. As the 
Persians write, ' What can I say more ?' And I 
only hope these few words may help to make my 
peace with people who justly pride themselves on 
bearing no malice. As for myself, I have no 
peace to make ; for I have studiously avoided 
reading any of the American criticisms on my 
book, in order that the kindly feelings I have 
ever entertained towards that country should not 
be ruffled. By this abstinence T may have lost 
some information, and perhaps missed many op- 
portunities of coiTecting erroneous impressions. 
But I set so much store by the pleasing recollec- 
tion of the journey itself, and of the hospitality 
with which my family were every where received, 
that whether it be right, or whether it be wrong, I 
cannot bring myself to read any thing which might 


disturb these agreeable associations. So let us 
part in peace ! or, rather let us meet again in cor- 
dial communication ; and if this little work shall 
find its way across the Atlantic, I hope it will be 
read there without reference to any thing that has 
passed between us ; or, at all events, with reference 
only to those parts of our former intercourse, which 
are satisfactory to all parties." — HalVs Fragments^ 
Vol. I. p. 200. 

I really think it is impossible to read, not only 
this passage, but many others in these delightful 
little volumes, without feeling that their author is 
as little likely to deserve the imputation of harsh- 
ness and ill-will, as any man that ever lived. 

In reading Capt. Hall's volumes on America, the 
observation which, I think, struck me the most 
forcibly, and which certainly came the most com- 
pletely home to my own feelings, was the following. 

" In all my travels both amongst Heathens, and 
amongst Christians, I have never encountered any 
people by whom I found it nearly so difficult to 
make myself understood as by the Americans." 

I have conversed in London and in Paris with 
foreigners of many nations, and often through the 


misty medium of an idiom imperfectly miderstood, 
but I remember no instance in which I found the 
same difficulty in conveying my sentiments, my 
impressions, and my opinions to those around me, 
as I did in America. Whatever faith may be 
given to my assertion, no one who has not visited 
the country can possibly conceive to what extent 
it is true. It is less necessary, I imagine, for the 
mutual understanding of persons conversing toge- 
ther, that the language should be the same, than 
that their ordinary mode of thinking, and habits of 
life should, in some degree, assimilate ; whereas, 
in point of fact, there is hardly a single point of 
sympathy between the Americans and us; but 
whatever the cause, the fact is certainly as I have 
stated it, and herein, I think, rests the only apology 
for the preposteious and undignified anger felt 
and expressed against Capt. Hall's work. They 
really cannot, even if they wished it, enter into 
any of his views, or comprehend his most ordinary 
feelings ; and, therefore, they cannot believe in the 
sincerity of the impressions he describes. The 
candour which he expresses, and evidently feels, 
they mistake for irony, or totally distrust ; his 
K 4 


unwillingness to give pain to persons from whom 
he has received kindness, they scorafully reject as 
affectation, and although they must know right 
well, in their own secret hearts, how infinitely 
more they lay at his mercy than he has chosen to 
betray ; they pretend, even to themselves, that he 
has exaggerated the bad points of their character 
and institutions ; whereas, the truth is, that he has 
let them off with a degree of tenderness which may 
be quite suitable for him to exercise, however little 
merited ; while, at the same time, he has most 
industriously magnified their merits, whenever he 
could possibly find any thing favourable. One 
can perfectly well undestand why Capt. Hall's 
avowed Tory principles should be disapproved, if 
in the United States, especially as (with a ques- 
tionable policy in a bookselling point of view, in 
these reforming times) he volunteers a profession 
of political faith, in which, to use the Kentucky 
phrase, "he goes the whole hog," and bluntly 
avows, in his concluding chapter, that he not only 
holds stoutly to Church and State, but that he 
conceives the English House of Commons to be, 
if not quite perfect, at least as much so for all the 


required purposes of representation as it can by 
possibility be made in practice. Such a down- 
right thorough-going Tory and Anti-reformer, pre- 
tending to judge of the workings of the American 
democratical system, was naturally held to be a 
monstrous abomination, and it has been visited 
accordingly, both in America, and as I understand, 
with us also. The experience which Capt. Hall 
has acquired in visits to every part of the world, 
during twenty or thirty years, goes for nothing 
with the Radicals on either side the Atlantic : on 
the contrary, precisely in proportion to the value 
of that authority which is the result of actual ob- 
servation, are they irritated to find its weight cast 
into the opposite scale. Had not Capt. Hall been 
converted by what he saw in North America, fi'om 
the Whig faith he exhibited in his description of 
South America, his book would have been far 
more popular in England during the last two years 
of public excitement; it may, perhaps, be long 
before any justice is done to Capt. Hall's book in 
the United States, but a less time will probably 
sufiice to estabhsh its claim to attention at home. 




Journey to Niagara — Hudson — West Point — 
Hyde Park — Albany — Yankees — Trenton Falls 
— Rochester — Genesee Falls — Lockport. 

How quickly weeks glide away in such a city as 
New York, especially when you reckon among 
your friends some of the most agreeable people in 
either hemisphere. But we had still a long jour- 
ney before us, and one of the wonders of the world 
was to be seen. 

On the 30th of May we set off for Niagara. I 
had heard so much of the surpassing beauty of the 
North River, that I expected to be disappointed, 
and to find reality flat after description. But it is 
not in the power of man to paint with a strength 
exceeding that of nature, in such scenes as the 
Hudson presents. Every mile shews some new 
and startling effect of the combination of rocks, 


trees, and water; there is no interval of flat or 
insipid scenery, from the moment you enter upon 
the river at New York, to that of quitting it at 
Albany, a distance of 180 miles. 

For the first twenty miles, the shore of New 
Jersey on the left, offers almost a continued wall 
of trap rock, which from its perpendicular form, 
and lineal fissures, is called the Palisados. This 
wall sometimes rises to the height of a hundred 
and fifty feet, and sometimes sinks down to twenty. 
Here and there, a watercourse breaks its uniformity ; 
and every where the brightest foliage, in all the 
splendour of the climate and the season, fringed 
and checquered the dark barrier. On the opposite 
shore, Manhatten Island, with its leafy coronet 
gemmed with villas, forms a lovely contrast to these 
rocky heights. 

After passing Manhatten Island the eastern shore 
gradually assumes a wild and rocky character, but 
ever varying; woods, lawns, pastures, and tower- 
ing cliffs all meet the eye in quick succession, as 
the giant steam-boat cleaves its swift passage up 
the stream. 

For several miles the voyage is one of great in- 
K 6 


terest independent of its beauty, for it passes many 
points where important events of the revolutionary 
war took place. 

It was not without a pang that I looked on the 
spot where poor Andre was taken, and another 
where he was executed. 

Several forts, generally placed in most com- 
manding situations, still shew by their battered 
ruins, where the struggle was strongest, and I felt 
no lack of that moral interest so entirely wanting 
in the new States, and without which no journey 
can, I think, continue long without wearying the 

About forty miles from New York you enter 
upon the Highlands, as a series of mountains 
which then flank the river on both sides, are 
called. The beauty of this scenery can only be 
conceived when it is seen. One might fancy that 
these capricious masses, with all their countless 
varieties of light and shade, were thrown together 
to shew how passing lovely rocks, and woods, and 
water could be. Sometimes a lofty peak shoots 
suddenly up into the heavens, shewing in bold 
relief against the sky; and then a deep ravine 


sinks in solemn shadow, and draws the imagina- 
tion into its leafy recesses. For several miles the 
river appears to form a succession of lakes ; you 
are often enclosed on all sides by rocks rising 
directly from the very edge of the stream, and 
then you turn a point, the river widens, and again 
woods, lawns, and villages are reflected on its 

The state prison of Sing Sing is upon the edge 
of the water, and has no picturesque effect to 
atone for the painful images it suggests ; the 
'' Sleepy Hollow" of Washington Irving, just above 
it, restores the imagination to a better tone. 

West Point, the military academy of the United 
States, is fifty miles from New York. The scenery 
around it is magnificent, and though the buildings 
of the establishment are constructed with the 
handsome and unpicturesque regularity which 
marks the work of governments, they are so nobly 
placed, and so embosomed in woods, that they 
look beautiful. The lengthened notes of a French 
horn, which I presume was attending some of 
their military manoeuvres, sounded with deep and 
solemn sweetness as we passed. 


About thirty miles further is Hyde Park, the 
magnificent seat of Dr. Hosack ; here the misty 
summit of the distant Kaatskill begins to form the 
outline of the landscape ; it is hardly possible to 
imagine any thing more beautiful than this place. 
We passed a day there with great enjoyment ; 
and the following morning set forward again in 
one of those grand floating hotels called steam- 
boats. Either on this day, or the one before, we 
had two hundred cabin passengers on board, and 
they all sat down together to a table spread abund- 
antly, and with considerable elegance. A con- 
tinual succession of gentlemen's seats, many of 
them extremely handsome, borders the river to 
Albany. We arrived there late in the evening, 
but had no difficulty in finding excellent accom- 

Albany is the state capital of New York, and 
has some very handsome public buildings ; 
there are also some curious relics of the old 
Dutch inhabitants. 

The first sixteen miles from Albany we travelled 
in a stage, to avoid a multitude of locks at the 
entrance of the Erie canal ; but at Scenectedy we 


got on board one of the canal packet-boats for 


With a very delightful ])arty, of one's own 

choosing, fine temperate weather, and a strong 

breeze to chase the mosquitos, this mode of tra- 
velling might be very agreeable, but I can hardly 
imagine any motive of convenience powerful 
enough to induce me again to imprison myself 
in a canal boat under ordinary circumstances. 
The accommodations being greatly restricted, 
every body, from the moment of entering the boat, 
acts upon a system of unshrinking egotism. The 
library of a dozen books, the backgammon board, 
the tiny berths, the shady side of the cabin, are 
all jostled for in a manner to make one greatly 
envy the power of the snail ; at the moment I 
would willingly have given up some of my human 
dignity for the privilege of creeping into a shell 
of my own. To any one who has been accus- 
tomed in travelling, to be addressed with, " Do 
sit here, you will find it more comfortable," the 
" You poust go there, I made for this place first," 
sounds very unmusical. 

There is a great quietness about the women of 


America, (I speak of the exterior manner of per- 
sons casually met,) but somehow or other, I should 
never call it gentleness. In such trying moments 
as that oi fixing themselves on board a packet- 
boat, the men are prompt, determined, and will 
compromise any body's convenience, except their 
own. The women are doggedly stedfast in their 
will, and till matters are settled, look like hedge- 
hogs, with every quill raised, and firmly set, as if 
to forbid the approach of any one who might wish 
to rub them down. In circumstances where an 
English woman would look proud, and a French 
woman nonchalante, an American lady looks grim ; 
even the youngest and the prettiest can set their 
lips, and knit their brows, and look as hard, and 
unsocial as their grandmothers. 

Though not in the Yankee or New England 
country, we were bordering upon it sufficiently to 
meet in the stages and boats many delightful spe- 
cimens of this most peculiar race. I like them 
extremely well, but I would not wish to have any 
business transactions with them, if I could avoid 
it, lest, to use their own phrase, " they should be 
too smart for me." 


It is by no means rare to meet elsewhere, in 
this working-day world of om's, people who push 
acuteness to the verge of honesty, and sometimes, 
perhaps, a little bit beyond ; but, I believe, the 
Yankee is the only one who will be found to 
boast of doing so. It is by no means easy to give 
a clear and just idea of a Yankee ; if you hear his 
character from a Virginian, you will believe him a 
devil ; if you listen to it from himself, you might 
fancy him a god — though a tricky one ; Mercury 
turned righteous and notable. Matthews did very 
w^ell, as far as " I expect," '' I calculate," and 
" I guess ;" but this is only the shell ; there is an 
immense deal w^ithin, both of sweet and bitter. 
In acuteness, cautiousness, industry, and per- 
severance, he resembles the Scotch ; in habits of 
frugal neatness, he resembles the Dutch ; in love 
of lucre he doth greatly resemble the sons of 
Abraham ; but in frank admission, and superlative 
admiration of all his own peculiarities, he is like 
nothing on earth but himself. 

The Quakers have been celebrated for the per- 
tinacity with which they avoid giving a direct 
answer, but what Quaker could ever vie with a 

210 do:jestic manners 

Yankee in this sort of fencing? Nothing, in fact, 
can equal their skill in evading a question, ex- 
cepting that with which thej set about asking 
one. I am afraid that in repeating a conversation 
which I overheard on board the Erie canal boat, 
I shall spoil it, by forgetting some of the little 
delicate doublings which delighted me — yet I 
wrote it down immediately. Both parties were 
Yankees, but strangers to each other ; one of them 
having, by gentle degrees, made himself pretty 
well acquainted with the point from which every 
one on board had started, and that for which 
he was bound, at last attacked his brother 
Reynard thus : — 

" Well, now, which way may you be travel- 

" I expect this canal runs pretty nearly west." 

" Are you going far with it ?" 

" Well, now, I don't rightly know how many 
miles it may be." 

" I expect you'll be from New York ?" 

" Sure enough I have been at New York, often 
and often." 

" I calculate, then, 'tis not there as you stop ?" 


'^ Business must be minded, in stopping and in 

" You may say that. Well, I look then you'll 
be making for the Springs ?" 

" Folks say as all the world is making for the 
Springs, and I expect a good sight of them is." 

" Do you calculate upon stopping long when 
you get to your journey's end?" 

" 'Tis my business must settle that, I expect." 

" I guess that's true, too ; but you'll be for 
making pleasure a business for once, I calculate ?" 

" My business don't often lie in that line." 

" Then, may be, it is not the Springs as takes 
you this line ?" 

" The Springs is a righ elegant place, I 

" It is your health, I calculate, as makes you 
break your good rules ?" 

" My health don't trouble me much, I guess." 

" No ? Why that's well. How is the markets, 
sir ? Are bread stuffs up ?" 

" I a'nt just capable to say." 

" A deal of money's made by just looking al"ter 
the article at the fountain's head." 


" You may say that." 

" Do you look to be making great dealings in 
produce up the country ?" 

'' Why that, I expect, is difficult to know." 

" I calculate you'll find the markets changeable 
these times ?" 

" No markets ben't very often without changing." 

" Why, that's right down true. What may be 
your biggest article of produce ?" 

" 1 calculate, generally, that's the biggest, as I 
makes most by." 

" You may say that. But what do you chiefly 
call your most particular branch ?" 

'" Why, that's what I can't justly say." 

And so they went on, without advancing or 
giving an inch, 'till I was weary of listening ; but 
I left them still at it, when I stepped out to 
resume my station on a trunk at the bow of the 
boat, w^here I scribbled in my note-book, this spe- 
cimen of Yankee conversation. 

"^jf "^K" "Hf ^ "^ "^T" "^ 

The Erie canal has cut through much solid rock, 
and we often passed between magnificent cliffs. 
The little falls of the Mohawk form a lovely scene ; 


the rocks over which the river runs are most fan- 
tastic in form. The fall continues nearly a mile, 
and a beautiful village, called the Little Falls, 
overhangs it. As many locks occur at this point, 
we quitted the boat, that we might the better enjoy 
the scenery, which is of the wildest description. 
Several other passengers did so likewise, anrl I 
was much amused by one of our Yankees, who 
very civilly accompanied our party, pointing out 
to me the wild state of the country, and apolo- 
gizing for it, by saying, that the property all 
round thereabouts had been owned by an English- 
man ; " and you'll excuse me, ma'am, but when 
the English gets a spot of wild ground like this 
here, they have no notions about it like us ; but 
the Englishman have sold it, and if you w^as to 
see it five years hence, you would not know it 
again ; I'll engage there will be by that, half a 
score elegant factories — 'tis a true shame to let 
such a privilege of w^ater lie idle." 

We reached Utica at twelve o'clock the follow- 
ing day, ptetty well fagged by the sun by day, 
and a crowded cabin by night; lemon-juice and 
iced-water (without sugar) kept us alive. But for 


this delightful recipe, feather fans, and eau de 
Cologne, I think we should have failed altogether ; 
the thermometer stood at 90". 

At two, we set off in a very pleasant airy car- 
riage for Trenton Falls, a delightful drive of four- 
teen miles. These falls have become within the 
last few years only second in fame to Niagara. 
The West Canada Creek, which in the map shews 
but as a paltry stream, has found its way through 
three miles of rock, which, at many points, is 
150 feet high. A forest of enormous cedars is on 
their summit ; and many of that beautiful species 
of white cedar which droops its branches like the 
weeping-willow, grow in the clefts of the rock, 
and in some places almost dip their dark foliage 
in the torrent. The rock is of a dark grey lime- 
stone, and often presents a wall of unbroken sur- 
face. Near the hotel a flight of very alarming 
steps leads down to the bed of the stream, and on 
reaching it you find yourself enclosed in a deep 
abvvss of solid rock, with no visible opening but 
that above your head. The torrent dashes by 
with inconceivable rapidity ; its colour is black as 
night, and the dark ledge of rock on which you 


Stand, is so treacherously level with it, that no- 
thing warns you of danger. Within the last three 
years two young people, though surrounded by 
their friends, have stepped an inch too far, and 
disappeared from among them, as if by magic, 
never to revisit earth again. This broad flat ledge 
reaches but a short distance, and then the perpen- 
dicular wall appears to stop your farther progress ; 
but there is a spirit of defiance in the mind of 
man ; he will not be stayed either by rocks or 
waves. By the aid of gunpowder a sufficient 
quantity of the rock has been removed to afford a 
fearful footing round a point, which, when doubled, 
discloses a world of cataracts, all leaping forward 
together in most magnificent confusion. I suffered 
considerably before I reached the spot where this 
grand scene is visible ; a chain firmly fastened to 
the rock serves to hang by, as you creep along the 
giddy verge, and this enabled me to proceed so 
far; but here the chain failed, and my courage 
with it, though the rest of the party continued for 
some way farther, and reported largely of still 
increasing sublimity. But my knees tottered, and 
my head swam, so while the rest crept onward, I 


sat down to wait their return on the floor of rock 
which had received us on quitting the steps. 

A hundred and fifty feet of bare black rock on 
one side, an equal height covered with solenni 
cedars on the other, anunfathomed torrent roaring 
between them, the fresh remembrance of the 
ghastly legend belonging to the spot, and the idea 
of my children clinging to the dizzy path 1 had 
left, was altogether sombre enough ; but I had not 
sat long before a tremendous burst of thunder 
shook the air; the deep chasm answered from 
either side, again, again, and again; I thought 
the rock T sat upon trembled : but the whole effect 
was so exceedingly grand, that I had no longer 
leisure to think of fear ; my children immediately 
returned, and we enjoyed together the darkening 
shadows cast over the abyss^ the rival clamour of 
the torrent and the storm, and that delightful ex- 
altation of the spirits which sets danger at defiance. 
A few heavy rain drops alarmed us more than all 
the terrors of the spot, or rather, they recalled our 
senses, and we retreated by the fearful steps, reach- 
ing our hotel unwetted aad unharmed. The next 
morning we were again early a-foot; the last 


night's storm had refreshed the air, and renewed 
our strength. We now took a different route, and 
instead of descending, as before, walked through 
the dark forest along the cliff, sufficiently near its 
edge to catch fearful glimpses of the scene below. 
After some time the path began to descend, and 
at length brought us to the Shantee, commemo- 
rated in Miss Sedgwick's Clarence. This is by 
far the finest point of the falls. There is a little 
balcony in front of the Shantee, literally hanging 
over the tremendous whirlpool ; though frail, it 
makes one fancy oneself in safety, and reminded 
me of the feeling with which I have stood on one 
side a high gate, watching a roaring bull on the 
other. The walls of this Shantee are literally 
covered with autographs, and I was inclined to 
join the laugh ag'ainst the egotistical trifling, when 
one of the party discovered " Trollope, England," 
amidst the innumerable scrawls. The well known 
characters were hailed with such delight, that T 
think I shall never again laugh at any one for 
leaving their name where it is possible a friend 
may find it. 

We returned to Utica to dinner, and found that 



we must either wait till the next day for the Ro- 
chester coach, or again submit to the packet-boat. 
Our impatience induced us to prefer the latter, not 
very wisely, 1 think, for every annoyance seemed 
to increase upon us. The Oneida and the Ge- 
nesee country are both extremely beautiful, but 
had we not returned by another route we should 
have known little about it. From the canal no- 
thing is seen to advantage, and very little is seen 
at all. My chief amusement, I think, was derived 
from names. One town, consisting of a whiskey 
store and a warehouse, is called Port Byron. At 
Rome, the first name I saw over a store was 
Remus, doing infinite honour, I thought, to the 
classic lore of his godfathers and godmothers ; 
but it would be endless to record all the drolleries 
of this kind which we met with. We arrived at 
Rochester, a distance of a hundred and forty miles, 
on the second morning after leaving Utica, fully 
determined never to enter a canal boat again, at 
least, not in America. 

Rochester is one of the most famous of the cities 
built on the Jack and Bean-stalk principle. There 
are many splendid edifices in wood ; and certainly 


more houses, warehouses, factories, and steam - 
engines than ever were collected together in the 
same space of time ; but I was told by a fellow- 
traveller that the stumps of the forest are still to be 
found firmly rooted in the cellars. 

The fall of the Genesee is close to the town, and 
in the course of a few months will, perhaps, be in 
the middle of it. It is a noble sheet of water, of a 
hundred and sixty feet pei-pendicular fall ; but I 
looked at it through the window of a factory, and 
as I did not like that, I was obligingly handed to 
the door- way of a sa wing-mill ; in short, " the 
great water privilege" has been so ingeniously 
taken advantage of, that no point can be found 
where its voice and its movement are not mixed 
and confounded with those of *'the admirable 
machinery of this flourishing city." 

The Genesee fall is renowned as being the last 
and fatal leap of the adventurous madman, Sam 
Patch ; he had leaped it once before, and rose to 
the surface of the river in perfect safety, but the 
last time he was seen to falter as he took the leap, 
and was never heard of more. It seems that he 
had some misgivings of his fate, for a pet bear, 
L 2 


which he had always taken with him on his former 
break-neck adventures, and which had constantly 
leaped after him without injury, he on this oc- 
casion left behind, in the care of a friend, to whom 
he bequeathed him " in case of his not returning." 
We saw^ the bear, which is kept at the principal 
hotel ; he is a noble creature, and more completely 
tame than I ever saw any animal of the species. 

Our journey now became wilder every step, the 
unbroken forest often skirted the road for miles, 
and the sight of a log-hut was an event. Yet the 
road was, for the greater part of the day, good, 
running along a natural ridge, just wide enough 
for it. This ridge is a very singular elevation, 
and, by all the enquiry I could make, the favourite 
theory concerning it is, that it was formerly the 
boundary of Lake Ontario, near which it passes. 
When this ridge ceased, the road ceased too, and 
for the rest of the way to Lockport, we were most 
painfully jumbled and jolted over logs and through 
bogs, till every joint was nearly dislocated. 

Lockport is, beyond all comparison, the strangest 
looking place 1 ever beheld. As fast as half a 
dozen trees were cut down, a factory was raised 


up ; stumps still contest the ground with pillars, 
and porticos are seen to struggle with rocks. It 
looks as if the demon of machinery, having in- 
vaded the peaceful realms of nature, had fixed on 
Lockport as the battle-ground on which they 
should strive for mastery. The fiend insists that 
the streams shall go one way, though the gentle 
mother had ever led their dancing steps another; 
nay, the very rocks must fall before him, and take 
what form he wills. The battle is lost and won. 
Nature is fairly routed and driven from the field, 
and the rattling, crackling, hissing, splitting demon 
has taken possession of Lockport for ever. 

We slept there, dismally enough. I never felt 
more out of humour at what the Americans call 
improvement ; it is, in truth, as it now stands, a 
most hideous place, and gladly did 1 leave it 
behind me. 

Our next stage was to Lewiston ; for some 
miles before we reached it, we were within sight 
of the British frontier ; and we made our salaams. 

The monument of the brave General Brock 
stands on an elevated point, near Queenstown, and 
is visible at a great distance. 
L 3 


We breakfasted at Lewiston, but felt every cup 
of coffee as a sin, so impatient were we, as we 
approached the end of our long pilgrimage, to 
reach the shrine, which natm-e seems to have 
placed at such a distance from her worshippers 
on purpose to try the strength of their devotion. 

A few miles more would bring us to the high 
altar, but first we had to cross the ferry, for we 
were determined upon taking our first view from 
British ground. The Niagara river is very lovely 
here ; the banks are bold, rugged, and richly co- 
loured, both by rocks and woods ; and the stream 
itself is bright, clear, and unspeakably green. 

In crossing the ferry a fellow-passenger made 
many enquiries of the young boatman respecting 
the battle of Queenstown ; he was but a lad, and 
could remember little about it, but he was a 
British lad, and his answers smacked strongly of 
his loyal British feeling. Among other things, the 
questioner asked if many American citizens had 
not been thrown from the heights into the river. 

" Why, yes, there was a good many of them ; 
but it was right to shew them there was water 
between us, and you know it might help to keep 


the rest of them from coming to trouble us on our 
own ground." 

This phrase, '^ our own ground," gave interest 
to every mile, or I believe I should have shut my 
eyes, and tried to sleep, that I might annihilate 
what remained of time and space between me and 

But I was delighted to see British oaks, and 
British roofs, and British boys and girls. These 
latter, as if to impress upon us that they were not 
citizens, made bows and courtesies as we passed, 
and this little touch of long unknown civility pro- 
duced great effect. " See these dear children, 
mamma ! do they not look English ? how I love 
them!" was the exclamation it produced. 

L 4 



Niagara — Arrival at Foi'sythes — First sight of 
the Falls — Goat Island — The Rapids — Buffalo 
— Lake Erie Canandaigna — Stage-coach ad- 

At length we reached Niagara. It was the 
brightest day that June could give ; and almost 
any day would have seemed bright that brought 
me to the object which, for years, I had languished 
to look upon. 

We did not hear the sound of the Falls till very 
near the hotel, which overhangs them; as you 
enter the door you see beyond the hall an open 
space, surrounded by galleries, one above another, 
and in an instant you feel that from thence the 
wonder is visible. 

I trembled like a fool, and my girls clung to me, 
trembling too, I believe, but with faces beaming 


with delight. We encountered a waiter, who had 
a sympathy of some sort with us, for he would not 
let us run through the hall to the first gallery, but 
ushered us up stairs, and another instant placed 
us where, at one glance, I saw all I had wished 
for, hoped for, dreamed of. 

It is not for me to attempt a description of 
Niagara ; I feel I have no powers for it. 

After one long, stedfast gaze, we quitted the 
gallery that we might approach still nearer, and 
in leaving the house had the good fortune to meet 
an English gentleman *, who had been introduced 
to us at New York ; he had preceded us by a few 
days, and knew exactly how and where to lead us. 
If any man living can describe the scene we looked 
upon it is himself, and I trust he will do it. As 
for me, I can only say that wonder, ten'or, and 
delight completely overwhelmed me. I wept with 
a strange mixture of pleasure and of pain, and 
certainly was, for some time, too violently affected 
in the physique to be capable of much pleasure ; 
but when this emotion of the senses subsided, and 

* The accomplished author of " Cyril Thornton." 
L 5 


I had recovered some degree of composure, my 
enjoyment was very great indeed. 

To say that I was not disappointed is but a 
weak expression to convey the suqmse and asto- 
nishment which this long dreamed of scene pro- 
duced. It has to me something beyond its 
vastness ; there is a shadowy mystery hangs about 
it which neither the eye nor even the imagination 
can penetrate ; but I dare not dwell on this, it is 
a dangerous subject, and any attempt to describe 
the sensations produced must lead direct to non- 

Exactly at the Fall, it is the Fall and nothing 
else you have to look upon ; there are not, as at 
Trenton, mighty rocks and towering forests, there 
is only the waterfall ; but it is the fall of an ocean, 
and were Pelion piled on Ossa on either side of it, 
we could not look at them. 

The noise is greatly less than I expected ; one 
can hear with perfect distinctness every thing said 
in an ordinary tone, when quite close to the ca- 
taract. The cause of this, I imagine to be, that it 
does not fall immediately among rocks, like the far 
noisier Potomac, but direct and unbroken, save by 


its own rebound. The colour of the water, before 
this rebound hides it in foam and mist, is of the 
brightest and most delicate green ; the violence of 
the impulse sends it far over the precipice before 
it falls, and the effect of the ever varying light 
through its transparency is, I think, the loveliest 
thing I ever looked upon. 

We descended to the edge of the gulf which 
receives the torrent, and thence looked at the 
horse-shoe fall in profile ; it seems like awful 
daring to stand close beside it, and raise one's 
eyes to its immensity. I think the point the most 
utterly inconceivable to those who have not seen 
it, is the centre of the horse-shoe. The force of 
the torrent converges there, and as the heavy mass 
pours in, twisted, wreathed, and curled together, it 
gives an idea of irresistible power, such as no 
other object ever conveyed to me. 

The following anecdote, which 1 had from good 
authority, may give some notion of this mighty 

After the last American war, three of our ships, 
stationed on Lake Erie, were declared unfit for 
service, and condemned. Some of their officers 


obtained permission to send them over Niagara 
Falls. The first was torn to shivers by the rapids, 
and went over in fragments ; the second filled mth 
water before she reached the fall ; but the third, 
which was in better condition, took the leap gal- 
lantly, and retained her form till it was hid in the 
cloud of mist below. A reward of ten dollars 
was offered for the largest fragment of wood that 
should be found from either wreck, five for the 
second, and so on. One morsel only was ever 
seen, and that about a foot in length, was mashed 
as by a vice, and its edges notched like the teeth 
of a saw. What had become of the immense 
quantity of wood which had been precipitated ? 
What unknown whirlpool had engulphed it, so 
that, contrary to the very laws of nature, no vestige 
of the floating material could find its way to the 
surface ? 

Beyond the horse-shoe is Goat Island, and 
beyond Goat Island the American fall, bold, 
straight, and chafed to snowy whiteness by the 
rocks which meet it ; but it does not approach, in 
sublimity or awful beauty, to the wondrous cres- 
cent on the other shore. There, the form of the 


mighty cauldron, into which the deluge pours, the 
hundred silvery torrents congregating round its 
verge, the smooth and solemn movement with 
which it rolls its massive volume over the rock, the 
liquid emerald of its long unbroken waters, the 
fantastic wreaths which spring to meet it, and 
then, the shadowy mist that veils the horrors of 
its crash below, constitute a scene almost too 
enormous in its features for man to look upon. 
" Angels might tremble as they gazed;" and I 
should deem the nerves obtuse, rather than strong, 
which did not quail at the first sight of this stu- 
pendous cataract. 

Minute local particulars can be of no interest 
to those who have not felt their influence for 
pleasure or for pain. I will not tell of giddy stairs 
which scale the very edge of the torrent, nor of 
beetling slabs of table rock, broken and breaking, 
on which, shudder as you may, you must take 
your stand or lose your reputation as a tourist. 
All these feats were performed again and again, 
even on the first day of our arrival, and most 
earthly weary was I when the day was done, 
though I would not lose the remembrance of it to 


purchase the addition of many soft and silken ones 
to my existence. 

By four o'clock the next morning I was again at 
the little shantee, close to the horse-shoe fall, which 
seems reared in water rather than in air, and took 
an early shower-bath of spray. Much is concealed 
at this early hour by the heavy vapour, but there 
was a charm in the very obscurity ; and every 
moment, as the light increased, cloud after cloud 
rolled off, till the vast wonder was again be- 
fore me. 

It is in the afternoon that the rainbow is visible 
from the British side ; and it is a lovely feature in 
the mighty landscape. The gay arch springs from 
fall to fall, a fairy bridge. 

After breakfast w^e crossed to the American side, 
and explored Goat Island. The passage across 
the Niagara, directly in face of the falls, is one of 
the most delightful little voyages imaginable ; the 
boat crosses marvellously near them, and within 
reach of a light shower of spray. Real safety and 
apparent danger have each their share in the plea- 
sure felt. The river is here two hundred feet deep. 
The passage up the rock brings you close upon 


the American cataract; it is a vast sheet, and has 
all the sublimity that height and width, and up- 
roar can give ; but it has none of the magic of its 
rival about it. Goat Island has, at all points, a 
fine view of the rapids ; the furious velocity with 
which they rush onward to the abyss, is terrific ; 
and the throwing a bridge across them was a work 
of noble daring. 

Below the falls, the river runs between lofty 
rocks, crowned with unbroken forests ; this scene 
forms a striking contrast to the level shores above 
the cataract. It appears as if the level of the river 
had been broken up by some volcanic force. The 
Niagara flows out of Lake Erie, a broad, deep 
river ; but for several miles its course is tranquil, 
and its shores perfectly level. By degrees its bed 
begins to sink, and the glassy smoothness is dis- 
turbed by a slight ripple. The inverted trees, that 
before lay so softly still upon its bosom, become 
twisted and tortured till they lose their form, and 
seen madly to mix in the tumult that destroys 
them. The current becomes more rapid at every 
step, till rock after rock has chafed the stream to 
fuiy, making the green one white. This lasts for 



a mile, and then down sink the rocks at once, one 
hundred and fifty feet, and the enormous flood 
falls after them. God said, let there be a cataract, 
and it was so. When the river has reached its 
new level, the precipice on either side shews a 
terrific chasm of solid rock ; some beautiful plants 
are clinging to its sides, and oak, ash, and cedar, 
in many places, clothe their teiTors with rich 

This violent transition from level shores to a 
deep ravine, seem to indicate some great convul- 
sion as its cause, and when I heard of a burning 
spring close by, I fancied the volcanic power still 
at work, and that the wonders of the region might 
yet increase. 

We passed four delightful days of excitement 
and fatigue ; we drenched ourselves in spray ; we 
cut our feet on the rocks ; we blistered our faces 
in the sun; we looked up the cataract, and down 
the cataract ; we perched ourselves on every pin- 
nacle we could find ; we dipped our fingers in the 
flood at a few yards' distance from its thundering 
fall ; in short, we strove to fill as many niches of 
memory with Niagara, as possible ; and I think 


the images will be within the power of recall for 

We met many groups of tourists in our walks, 
chiefly American, but they were, or we fancied 
they were, but little observant of the wonders 
around them. 

One day we were seated on a point of the cliff, 
near the ferry, which commands a view of both 
the Falls. This, by the way, is considered as the 
finest general view of the scene. One of our party 
was employed in attempting to sketch, what, how- 
ever, I believe it is impossible for any pencil to 
convey an idea of, to those who have not seen it. 
We had borrowed two or three chairs from a 
neighbouring cottage, and amongst us had ga- 
thered a quantity of boughs which, with the aid 
of shawls and parasols, we had contrived to weave 
into a shelter from the mid-day sun, so that alto- 
gether I have no doubt we looked very cool and 

A large party who had crossed from the Ameri- 
can side, wound up the steep ascent fi:om the 
place where the boat had left them ; in doing so 
their backs were turned to the cataracts, and as 


they approached the summit, our party was the 
principal object before them. They all stood 
perfectly still to look at us. This first examina- 
tion was performed at the distance of about a 
dozen yards from the spot we occupied, and 
lasted about five minutes, by which time they 
had recovered breath, and acquired corn-age. 
They then advanced in a body, and one or two 
of them began to examine (wrong side upwards) 
the work of the sketcher, in doing which they 
stood precisely between him and his object ; but 
of this I think it is very probable they were not 
aware. Some among them next began to question 
us, as to how long we had been at the Falls ; 
whether there were much company ; if we were 
not from the old country, and the like. In return 
we learnt that they were just arrived ; yet not one 
of tliem (there were eight) ever tm-ned the head, 
even for a moment, to look at the most stupendous 
spectacle that nature has to shew. 

The company at the hotel changed almost every 
day. Many parties arrived in the morning, walked 
to the Falls, returned to the hotel to dinner, and 
departed by the coach immediately after it. 


Many gi-oups were indescribably whimsical, both 
in appearance and manner. Now and then a 
first-rate dandy shot in among us, like a falling 

On one occasion, when we were in the beautiful 
gallery, at the back of the hotel, which overlooks 
the horse-shoe fall, we saw the booted leg of one 
of this graceful race protruded from the window 
which commands the view, while his person was 
thrown back in his chair, and his head enveloped 
in a cloud of tobacco smoke. 

I have repeatedly remarked, when it has hap- 
pened to me to meet any ultra fine men among 
the wilder and more imposing scenes of our own 
land, that they throw" off, in a great degree, their 
airs, and their " townliness," as some one cleverly 
calls these simagrees, as if ashamed to " play their 
fantastic tricks " before the god of nature, when so 
forcibly reminded of his presence ; and more than 
once on these occasions I have been surprised to 
find how much intellect lurked behind the inane 
mask of fashion. But in America the effect of 
fine scenery upon this class of persons is different, 
for it is exactly when amongst it, that the most 


strenuous efforts at elegant nonchalance are per- 
ceptible among the young exquisites of the western 
world. It is true that they have little leisure for 
the display of grace in the daily routine of com- 
mercial activity in which their lives are passed, 
and this certainly offers a satisfactory explanation 
of the fact above stated. 

Fortunately for our enjoyment, the solemn cha- 
racter of the scene was but little broken in upon 
by these gentry. Every one who comes to For- 
sythe's Hotel (except Mrs. Bogle Corbet), walks 
to the Shantee, writes their name in a book which 
is kept there, and, for the most part, descends in 
the spiral staircase which leads from the little plat- 
form before it, to the rocks below. Here they 
find another Shantee, but a few yards from the 
entrance of that wondrous cavern which is formed 
by the falling flood on one side, and by the mighty 
rock over which it pours, on the other. To this 
f\*ail shelter from the wild uproar, and the blinding 
spray, nearly all the touring gentlemen, and even 
many of the pretty ladies, find their way. But 
here I often saw their noble daring fail, and have 
watched them dripping and draggled turn again 


to the sheltering stairs, leaving us in full posses- 
sion of the awful scene we so dearly loved to gaze 
upon. How utterly futile must every attempt be 
to describe the spot ! How^ vain every effort to 
convey an idea of the sensations it produces ! 
Why is it so exquisite a pleasure to stand for 
hours drenched in spray, stunned by the ceaseless 
roar, trembling from the concussion that shakes 
the very rock you cling to, and breathing pain- 
fully in the moist atmosphere that seems to have 
less of air than water in it ? Yet pleasure it is, 
and T almost think the greatest I ever enjoyed. 
We more than once approached the entrance to 
this appalling cavern, but I never fairly entered 
it, though two or three of my party did. — I lost 
my breath entirely ; and the pain at my chest w^as 
so severe, that not all my curiosity could enable 
me to endure it. 

What was that cavern of the winds, of which 
we heard of old, compared to this ? A mightier 
spirit than ^olus reigns here. 

Nor was this spot of dread and danger the only 
one in which we found ourselves alone. The path 
taken by " the company " to the Shantee, w^hich 


contained the " book of names" was always the 
same ; this w^omid down the steep bank from the 
gate of the hotel garden, and w^as rendered toler- 
ably easy by its repeated doublings ; but it was 
by no means the best calculated to manage to 
advantage the pleasure of the stranger in his ap- 
proach to the spot. All others, however, seemed 
left for us alone. 

During our stay we saw the commencement of 
another staircase, intended to rival in attraction 
that at present in use ; it is but a few yards from 
it, and can in no way, I think, contribute to the 
convenience of the descent. The erection of the 
central shaft of this spiral stair was a most tre- 
mendous operation, and made me sick and giddy 
as I watched it. After it had been made fast at 
the bottom, the carpenters swung themselves off 
the rocks, by the means of ropes, to the beams 
which traversed it ; and as they sat across them, 
in the midst of the spray and the uproar, I thought 
I had never seen life periled so wantonly. But 
the work proceeded without accident, and was 
nearly finished before we left the hotel. 

It was a sort of pang to take what we knew 


must be our last look at Niagara; but "we had 
to do it," as the Americans say, and left it on the 
1 0th June, for Buffalo. 

The drive along the river, above the Falls, is as 
beautiful as a clear stream of a mile in width can 
make it ; and the road continues close to it till you 
reach the ferry at Black Rock. 

We welcomed, almost with a shout, the British 
colours which we saw, for the first time, on Com- 
modore BaiTie's pretty sloop, the Bull Dog, which 
we passed as it was towing up the river to Lake 
Erie, the commodore being about to make a tour 
of the lakes. 

At Black Rock we crossed again into the United 
States, and a few miles of horrible jolting brought 
us to Buffalo. 

Of all the thousand and one towns I saw in 
America, I think Buffalo is the queerest looking ; 
it is not quite so wild as Lockport, but all the 
buildings have the appearance of having been run 
up in a hurry, though every thing has an air of 
great pretension ; there are porticos, columns, 
domes, and colonnades, but all in wood. Every 
body tells you there, as in all their other new-born 


towns, and every body believes, that their improve- 
ment, and their progression, are more rapid, more 
wonderful, than the earth ever before witnessed ; 
while to me, the only wonder is, how so many 
thousands, nay millions of persons, can be found, 
in the nineteenth century, who can be content so 
to live. Surely this country may be said to spread 
rather than to rise. 

The Eagle Hotel, an immense wooden fabric, 
has all the pretension of a splendid establishment, 
but its monstrous corridors, low ceilings, and in- 
tricate chambers, gave me the feeling of a cata- 
comb rather than a house. We arrived after the 
table cVhote tea-drinking was over, and supped 
comfortably enough with a gentleman, who accom- 
panied us from the Falls ; but the next morning 
we breakfasted in a. long, low, narrow room, with 
a hundred persons, and any thing less like comfort 
can hardly be imagined. 

What can induce so many intellectual citizens 
to prefer these long, silent tables, scantily covered 
with morsels of fried ham, salt fish and liver, to a 
comfortable loaf of bread with their wives and 
children at home ? How greatly should I prefer 


eating my daily meals with my family, in an 
Indian wig-wam, to boarding at a table cVhote in 
these capacious hotels ; the custom, however, 
seems universal through the country, at least, 
we have met it, without a shadow of variation 
as to its general features, from New Orleans to 

Lake Erie has no beauty to my eyes ; it is not 
the sea, and it is not the river, nor has it the beau- 
tiful scenery generally found round smaller lakes. 
The only interest its unmeaning expanse gave me, 
arose from remembering that its waters, there so 
tame and tranquil, were destined to leap the gulf 
of Niagara. A dreadful road, through forests only 
beginning to be felled, brought us to Avon ; it is a 
straggling, ugly little place, and not any of their 
" Romes, Cartilages, Ithacas, or Athens," ever 
provoked me by their names so much. This Avon 
flows sweetly w4th nothing but wdiisky and tobacco 

The next day's journey was much more inter- 
esting, for it shewed us the lake of Canandaigua. 
It is about eighteen miles long, but narrow enough 
to bring the opposite shore, clothed with rich 



foliage, near to the eye; the back-ground is a 
ridge of mountains. Perhaps the state of the 
atmosphere lent an unusual charm to the scene ; 
one of those sudden thunder-storms, so rapid in 
approach, and so sombre in colouring, that they 
change the whole aspect of things in a moment, 
rose over the mountains, and passed across the 
lake while we looked upon it. Another feature in 
the scene gave a living, but most sad interest to it. 
A glaring wooden hotel, as fine as paint and por- 
ticos can make it, overhangs the lake ; beside it 
stands a shed for cattle. To this shed, and close 
by the white man's mushroom palace, two Indians 
had crept to seek a shelter from the storm. The 
one was an aged man, whose venerable head in 
attitude and expression indicated the profoundest 
melancholy : the other was a youth, and in his 
deep-set eye there was a quiet sadness more 
touching still. There they stood, the native 
rightful lords of the fair land, looking out upon 
the lovely lake which yet bore the name their 
fathers had given it, watching the threatening 
storm that brooded there ; a more fearful one had 
already burst over them. 


Though I have mentioned the lake first, the 
little town of Canandaigua precedes it, in return- 
ing from the West. It is as pretty a village as 
ever man contrived to build. Every house is sur- 
rounded by an ample garden, and at that flowery 
season, they were half buried in roses. 

It is true these houses are of wood, but they are 
so neatly painted, in such perfect repair, and shew 
so well within their leafy setting, that it is impos- 
sible not to admire them. 

Forty-six miles farther is Geneva, beautifully 
situated on Seneca Lake. This, too, is a lovely 
sheet of water, and I think the town may rival its 
European namesake in beauty. 

We slept at Auburn, celebrated for its prison, 
where the highly-approved system of American 
discipline originated. In this part of the country 
there is no w ant of churches ; every little village 
has its wooden temple, and many of them two ; 
that the Methodists and Presbyterians may not 

We passed through an Indian reserve, and the 
untouched forests again hung close upon the road. 
Repeated groups of Indians passed us, and we 
M 2 


remarked that they were much cleaner and better 
dressed than those we had met wandering far from 
their homes. The blankets which they use so 
gracefully as mantles, were as white as snow. 

We took advantage of the loss of a horse's shoe, 
to leave the coach, and approach a large party of 
them, consisting of men, women, and children, 
who were regaling themselves with I know not 
what, but milk made a part of the repast. They 
could not talk to us, but they received us with 
smiles, and seemed to understand when we asked 
if they had mocassins to sell, for they shook their 
sable locks, and answered " no." 

A beautiful grove of butternut trees was pointed 
out to us, as the spot where the chiefs of the six 
nations used to hold their senate ; our informer 
told me that he had been present at several of 
their meetings, and though he knew but little of 
their language, the power of their eloquence was 
evident from the great effect it produced among 

Towards the end of this day, we encountered 
an adventure which revived our doubts whether 
the invading white men, in chasing the poor 


Indians from their forests, have done much to- 
wards civilizing the land. For myself, I almost 
prefer the indigenous manner to the exotic. 

The coach stopped to take in " a lady" at Ver- 
non; she entered, and completely filled the last 
vacant inch of our vehicle ; for " we were eight" 

But no sooner was she seated, than her heait 
came forward w^ith a most enormous wooden 
best-bonnet box. He paused for a while to medi- 
tate the possibilities — raised it, as if to place it on 
our laps — sunk it, as if to put it beneath our feet. 
Both alike appeared impossible ; when, in true 
Yankee style he addressed one of our party with, 
" If you'll just step out a minute, I guess I'll find 
room for it." 

" Perhaps so. But how shall I find room for 
myself afterwards ?" 

This was uttered in European accents, and in 
an instant half a dozen whisky drinkers stepped 
from before the whisky store, and took the part of 
the heau. 

" That's because you'll be English travellers I 
expect, but we have travelled in better countries 
M 3 


than Europe — we have travelled in America — and 
the box will go, I calculate." 

We remonstrated on the evident injustice of the 
proceeding, and T ventured to say, that as we 
liad none of us any luggage in the carriage, be- 
cause the space was so very small, I thought a 
chance passenger could have no right so greatly to 
incommode us. 

" Right ! — there they go— that's just their way 
— that will do in Europe, may be; it sounds just 
like English tyranny, now — don't it ? but it won't 
do here." And thereupon he began thrusting 
in the wooden box against our legs, with all his 

" No law, sir, can permit such conduct as 

" Law !" exclaimed a gentleman very particu- 
larly drunk, " we makes our own laws, and governs 
our own selves." 

" Law !" echoed another gentleman of Vernon, 
" this is a free country, we have no laics here^ and 
we don't want no foreign power to tyrannize over 

I give the words «$xactly. It is, however, but 


fair to stale, that the party had evidently been 
drinking more than an usual portion of whiskey, 
but, perhaps, in whisky, as in wine, truth may 
come to light. At any rate the people of the 
Western Paradise follow^ the Gentiles in this, that 
they are a law^ unto themselves. 

During this contest, the coachman sat upon the 
box without saying a w^ord, but seemed greatly to 
enjoy the joke ; the question of the box, however, 
was finally decided in our favour by the nature of 
the human material, which cannot be compressed 
beyond a certain degree. 

For great part of this day we had the good 
fortune to have a gentleman and his daughter for 
our fellow-travellers, who were extremely intelli- 
gent and agreeable ; but I nearly got myself into a 
scrape by venturing to remark upon a phrase used 
by the gentleman, and which had met me at every 
comer from the time I first entered the country. 
We had been talking of pictures, and I had en- 
deavoured to adhere to the rule I had laid down 
for myself, of saying very little, w^here I could say 
nothing agreeable. At length he named an Ame- 
rican artist, with w^hose w^orks I was very familiar, 
M 4 


and after having declared him equal to Lawrence, 
(judging by his portrait of West, now at New 
York), he added, " and what is more, madam, he 
is perfectly self-taught^ 

I prudently took a few moments before T an- 
swered ; for the equalling our immortal Lawrence 
to a most vile dauber stuck in my throat ; I could 
not say Amen ; so for some time I said nothing ; 
but, at last, I remarked on the frequency with 
which I had heard this phrase oi self-taught used, 
not as an apology, but as positive praise. 

" Well, madam, can there be a higher praise r" 

" Certainly not, if spoken of the individual 
merits of a person, without the means of instruc- 
tion, but I do not understand it when applied as 
praise to his works." 

" Not understand it, madam ? Is it not attri- 
buting genius to the author, and what is teaching 
compared to that ?" 

I do not wish to repeat all my own ho7is mots in 
praise of study, and on the disadvantages of pro- 
fomid ignorance, but T would willingly, if I could, 
give an idea of the mixed indignation and con- 
tempt expressed by our companion at the idea 


that study was necessary to the formation of taste, 
and to the development of genius. At last, how- 
ever, he closed the discussion thus, — " There is 
no use in disputing a point that is already settled, 
madam ; the best judges declare that Mr. H*****g's 
portraits are equal to that of Lawrence " 

" Who is it who has passed this judgment, 
sir ?" 

'' The men of taste of America, madam." 
I then asked him, if he thought it was going to 
rain ? 

* * # * # * ^ 

The stages do not appear to have any regular 
stations at which to stop for breakfast, dinner, and 
supper. These necessary interludes, therefore, 
being generally hnpromjotu, were abominably bad. 
We were amused by the patient manner in which 
our American fellow-travellers ate whatever was 
set before them, without uttering a word of com- 
plaint, or making any effort to improve it, but no 
sooner reseated in the stage, than they began their 
complaints — " 'twas a shame" — " 'twas a robbery" 
— " 'twas poisoning folks"— and the like. I, at last, 
asked the reason of this, and why they did not 
:\j 5 


remonstrate ? " Because, madam, no American 
gentleman or lady that keeps an inn won't bear to 
be found fault with." 

We reached Utica very late and very weary ; 
but the delights of a good hotel and perfect 
civility sent us in good humour to bed, and we 
arose sufficiently refreshed to enjoy a day's jour- 
ney through some of the loveliest scenery in the 

Who is it that says America is not picturesque ? 
I forget ; but surely he never travelled from Utica 
to Albany. I really cannot conceive that any 
country can furnish a drive of ninety-six miles 
more beautiful, or more varied in its beauty. The 
road follows the Mohawk River, which flows 
through scenes changing from fields, waving with 
plenty, to rocks and woods ; gentle slopes, covered 
with cattle, are divided from each other by pre- 
cipices 500 feet high. Around the little falls 
there is a character of beauty as singular as it is 
striking. Here, as I observed of many other 
American rivers, the stream appears to run in a 
much narrower channel than it once occupied, 
and the space which it seems formerly to have 


filled is now covered with bright green herbage, 
save that, at intervals, large masses of rock rise 
abruptly from the level tmf ; these are crowned 
with all such trees as love the scanty diet which 
a rock affords. Dwarf oak, cedars, and the moun- 
tain ash, are grouped in a hundred different ways 
among them ; each clump you look upon is love- 
lier than its neighbour ; I never saw so sweetly 
wild a spot. 

I was surprised to hear a fellow-traveller say, as 
we passed a point of peculiar beauty, *' all this 
neighbourhood belongs, or did belong, to Mr. 
Edward Ellice, an English Member of Parliament, 
but he has sold a deal of it, and now, madam, you 
may see as it begins to improve ;" and he pointed 
to a great wooden edifice, where, on the white 
paint, " Cash for Rags," in letters three feet high, 
might be seen. 

I then remembered that it was near this spot 
that my Yankee friend had made his complaint 
against English indifference to " water privilege." 
He did not name Mr. Edward Ellice, but doubt- 
less he was the " English, as never thought of 

M 6 


I have often confessed my conscious incapacity 
for description, but I must repeat it here to apolo- 
gise for my passing so dully through this matchless 
valley of the Mohawk. I would that some British 
artist, strong in youthful daring, would take my 
word for it, and pass over, for a summer pilgrimage 
through the state of New York. In very earnest, 
he would do wisely, for I question if the world 
could furnish within the same space, and with 
equal facility of access, so many subjects for his 
pencil. Mountains, forests, rocks, lakes, rivers, cata- 
racts, all in perfection. But he must be bold as a lion 
in colouring, or he will make nothing of it. There 
is a clearness of atmosphere, a strength of cJtiaro 
osciiro, a massiveness in the foliage, and a bril- 
liance of contrast, that must make a colourist of 
any one who has an eye. He must have courage 
to dip his pencil in shadow^s black as night, and 
light that might blind an eagle. As I presume 
my young artist to be an enthusiast, he must first 
go direct to Niagara, or even in the Mohawk valley 
his pinioned wing may droop. If his fever run 
very high, he may slake his thirst at Trenton, and 
while there, he will not dream of any thing be- 


yoncl it. Should my advice be taken, I will ask 
the young adventurer on his return, (when he shall 
have made a prodigious quantity of money by my 
hint), to reward me by two sketches. One shall 
be the lake of Canandaigua ; the other the Indians' 
Senate Grove of Butternuts. 

During our journey, I forget on which day of it, 
a particular spot in the forest, at some distance 
from the road, was pointed out to us as the scene 
of a true, but very romantic story. During the 
great and the terrible French revolution, (179*2), a 
young nobleman escaped from the scene of horror, 
having with difficulty saved his head, and without 
the possibility of saving any thing else. He 
arrived at New York nearly destitute ; and after 
passing his life, not only in splendour, but in the 
splendour of the court of France, he found him- 
self jostled by the busy population of the New 
World, without a dollar between him and starva- 
tion. In such a situation one might almost sigh for 
the guillotine. The young noble strove to labour ; 
but who would purchase the trembling efforts of 
his white hands, while the sturdy strength of many 
a black Hercules was in the market ? He aban- 


doned the vain attempt to sustain himself by the 
aid of his fellow-men, and determined to seek a 
refuge in the forest. A few shillings only remained 
to him; he purchased an axe, and reached the 
Oneida territory. He felled a few of the slen- 
derest trees, and made himself a shelter that 
Robinson Crusoe would have laughed at, for it 
did not keep out the rain. Want of food, exposure 
to the weather, and unwonted toil, produced the 
natural result; the unfortunate 3'Oung man fell 
sick, and stretched upon the reeking earth, stifled, 
rather than sheltered, by the withering boughs 
which hung over him ; he lay parched with thirst, 
and shivering in ague, with the one last earthly hope, 
that each heavy moment would prove the last. 

Near to the spot which he had chosen for his 
miserable rest, but totally concealed from it by 
the thick forest, was the last straggling wigwam 
of an Indian village. It is not known how many 
days the unhappy man had lain without food, but 
he was quite insensible when a young squaw, 
whom chance had brought from this wigwam to 
his hut, entered, and found him alive, but totally 
insensible. The heart of woman is, I believe. 


pretty much the same every where ; the youDg 
girl paused not to thmk whether he were white or 
red, but her fleet feet rested not till she had 
brought milk, rum, and blankets, and when the 
sufferer recovered his senses, his head was sup- 
ported on her lap, while, with the gentle ten- 
derness of a mother, she found means to make him 
swallow the restoratives she had brought. 

No black eyes in the world, be they of France, 
Italy, or even of Spain, can speak more plainly of 
kindness, than the large deep-set orbs of a squaw ; 
this is a language that all nations can understand, 
and the poor Frenchman read most clearly, in the 
anxious glance of his gentle nurse, that he should 
not die forsaken. 

So far the story is romantic enough, and what 
follows is hardly less so. The squaw found means 
to introduce her white friend to her tribe -, he was 
adopted as their brother, speedily acquired their 
language, and assumed their dress and manner of 
life. His gratitude to his preserver soon ripened 
into love, and if the chronicle spoke true, the 
French noble and the American savage were more 
than passing happy as man and wife, and it was 


not till he saw himself the father of many thriving 
children that the exile began to feel a wish of 
rising again from savage to civilized existence. 

My historian did not explain what his project 
was in visiting New York, but he did so in the 
habit of an Indian, and learnt enough of the 
restored tranquillity of his country to give him hope 
that some of the broad lands he had left there 
might be restored to him. 

I have made my story already too long, and 
must not linger upon it farther than to say that 
his hopes were fulfilled, and that, of a large and 
flourishing family, some are settled in France, and 
some remain in America, (one of these, I under- 
stood, was a lawyer at New York), while the hero 
and the heroine of the tale continue to inhabit the 
Oneida country, not in a wigwam, however, but 
in a good house, in a beautiful situation, with 
all the comforts of civilized life around them. 

Such was the nan'ative we listened to, from 
a stage coach companion ; and it appears to me 
sufficiently interesting to repeat, though I have no 
better authority to quote for its tmth, than the 
assertion of this unknown traveller. 



Return to New York — Conclusion. 

The comfortable Adelphi Hotel again received 
us at Albany, on the 14th of June, and we decided 
upon passing the following day there, both to see 
the place, and to recruit our strength, which we 
began to feel we had taxed severely by a very 
fatiguing journey, in most oppressively hot wea- 
ther. It would have been difficult to find a 
better station for repose ; the rooms were large 
and airy, and ice was furnished in most profuse 

But notwithstanding the manifold advantages 
of this excellent hotel, I was surprised at the un- 
English arrangement communicated to me by two 
ladies with whom we made a speaking acquaint- 
ance, by which it appeared that they made it 
their permanent home. These ladies were a 


mother and daughter; the daughter was an ex- 
tremely pretty young married woman, with two 
little children. Where the husbands were, or 
whether they were dead or alive, I know not ; but 
they told me they had been hoarding there above 
a year. They breakfasted, dined, and supped at 
the table dliote^ with from twenty to a hundred 
people, as accident might decide ; dressed very 
smart, played on the piano, in the public sitting- 
room, and assured me they were particularly 
comfortable and well accommodated. What a 

Some parts of the town are very handsome ; the 
Town Hall, the Chamber of Representatives, and 
some other public buildings, stand well on a hill 
that overlooks the Hudson, with ample enclosures 
of grass and trees around them. 

Many of the shops are large, and showily set 
out. I was amused by a national trait which met 
me at one of them. 1 entered it to purchase 
some eau de Cologne, but finding what was offered 
to me extremely bad, and ver}^ cheap, I asked if 
they had none at a higher price, and better. 

" You are a stranger, T guess," was the answer. 


*' The Yankees want low price, that's all ; they 
don't stand so much for goodness as the English." 
Nothing could be more beautiful than our pas- 
sage down the Hudson on the following day, as I 
thought of some of my friends in England, dear 
lovers of the picturesque, I could not but exclaim, 

** Que je vous plains ! que je vous plains ! 
Vous ne la verrez pas." 

Not even a moving panoramic view, gliding before 
their eyes for an hour together, in all the scenic 
splendour of Drury Lane, or Covent Garden, could 
give them an idea of it. They could only see one 
side at a time. The change, the contrast, the 
ceaseless variety of beauty, as you skim from side 
to side, the liquid smoothness of the broad mirror 
that reflects the scene, and most of all, the clear 
bright air through which you look at it ; all this 
can only be seen and believed by crossing the 

As we approached New York the burning heat 
of the day relaxed, and the long shadows of even- 
ing fell coolly on the beautiful villas we passed. I 


really can conceive nothing more exquisitely 
lovely than this approach to the city. The mag- 
nificent boldness of the Jersey shore on the one 
side, and the luxurious softness of the shady lawns 
on the other, with the vast silvery stream that 
flows between them, altogether form a picture 
which may w^ell excuse a traveller for saying, 
once and again, that the Hudson river can be 
surpassed in beauty by none on the outside of 

It was nearly dark when we reached the city, 
and it was with great satisfaction that we found 
our comfortable apartments in Hudson Street un- 
occupied ; and our pretty, kind (Irish) hostess wil- 
ling to receive us again. We passed another fort- 
night there ; and again we enjoyed the elegant 
hospitality of New York, though now it was offered 
from beneath the shade of their beautiful villas. 
In truth, w^re all America like this fair city, and 
all, no, only a small proportion of its population 
like the friends we left there, I should say, that 
the land was the fairest in the world. 

But the time was come to bid it adieu ! The 
important business of securing our homeward 


passage was to be performed. One must know 
what it is to cross the ocean before the immense 
importance of all the little details of accommoda- 
tion can be understood. The anxious first look 
into the face of the captain, to ascertain if he be 
gentle or rough ; another, scarcely less important, 
in that of the steward, generally a sable one, but 
not the less expressive ; the accurate, but rapid 
glance of measurement thrown round the little 
state-rooms ; another at the good or bad aiTange- 
ment of the stair-case, by which you are to stumble 
up and stumble down, from cabin to deck, and 
from deck to cabin ; all this,^4iey only can under- 
stand who have felt it. At length, however, this 
interesting affair was settled, and most happily. 
The appearance promised well, and the perform- 
ance bettered it. We hastened to pack up 6ur 
"trumpery," as Captain MiiTen unkindly calls the 
paraphernalia of the ladies, and among the rest, 
my six hundred pages of giiflfonage. There is 
enough of it, yet I must add a few more lines. 

I suspect that what I have written will make 
it evident that I do not like America. Now, as 
it happens that I met with individuals there whom 


I love and admire, far beyond the love and ad- 
miration of ordinaiy acquaintance, and as I declare 
the country to be fair to the eye, and most richly 
teeming with the gifts of plenty, I am led to ask 
myself why it is that I do not like it. I would 
willingly know myself, and confess to others, why 
it is that neither its beauty nor its abundance can 
suffice to neutralize, or greatly soften, the distaste 
which the aggregate of my recollections has left 
upon my mind. 

I remember hearing it said, many years ago, 
when the advantages and disadvantages of a par- 
ticular residence were being discussed, that it 
was the " who ?" and not the " where ?" that 
made the difference between the pleasant or un- 
pleasant residence. The truth of the observation 
struck me forcibly when I heard it; and it has 
been recalled to my mind since, by the constantly 
recurring evidence of its justness. In applying 
this to America, I speak not of my friends, nor of 
my friends' friends. The small patrician band is 
a race apart ; they live with each other, and for 
each other; mix wondrously little with the high 
matters of state, which they seem to leave rather 


supinely to their tailors and tinkers, and are no 
more to be taken as a sample of the American 
people, than the head of Lord Byron as a sample 
of the heads of the British peerage. I speak not 
of these, but of the population generally, as seen 
in town and country, among the rich and the poor, 
in the slave states, and the free states. I do 
not like them. I do not like their principles, I 
do not like their manners, I do not like their 

Both as a woman, and as a stranger, it might 
be unseemly for me to say that I do not like 
their government, and therefore I will not say so. 
That it is one which pleases themselves is most 
certain, and this is considerably more important 
than pleasing all the travelling old ladies in the 
world. I entered the country at New Orleans, re- 
mained for more than two years west of the 
Alleghanies, and passed another year among the 
Atlantic cities, and the country around them. I con- 
versed during this time with citizens of all orders 
and degrees, and I never heard from anyone a single 
disparaging word against their government. It is 
not, therefore, surprising, that when the people of 


that country hear strangers questioning the wisdom 
of their institutions, and expressing disapprobation 
at some of their effects, they should set it down 
either to an incapacity of judging, or to a malicious 
feeling of envy and ill-will. 

" How can any one in their senses doubt the 
excellence of a government which we have tried 
for half a century, and loved the better the longer 
we have known it ?" 

Such is the natural enquiry of every American 
when the excellence of their government is 
doubted ; and 1 am inclined to answer, that no 
one in their senses, who has visited the country, 
and known the people, can doubt its fitness for 
them, such as they now^ are, or its utter unfitness 
for any other people. 

"Whether the government has made the people 
w^hat they are, or w^hether the people have made the 
government w^hat it is, to suit themselves, I know 
not ; but if the latter, they have shewn a consum- 
mation of w^isdom which the assembled world may 
look upon and admire. 

It is matter of historical notoriety that the 
original stock of the white population now inhabit- 


ing the United States, were persons who had 
banished themselves, or were banished from the 
mother country. The land they found was favour- 
able to their increase and prosperity ; the colony 
grew and flourished. Years rolled on, and the 
children, the grand-children, and the great grand- 
children of the first settlers, replenished the land, 
and found it flowing with milk and honey. 
That they should wish to keep this milk and 
honey to themselves, is not very surprising. 
What did the mother country do for them ? She 
sent them out gay and gallant oflScers to guard 
their frontier ; the which they thought they could 
guard as well themselves ; and then she taxed 
their tea. Now, this was disagreeable ; and to 
atone for it, the distant colony had no great share 
in her mother's grace and glory. It was not from 
among them that her high and mighty were 
chosen ; the rays which emanated from that bright 
sun of honour, the British throne, reached them 
but feebly. They knew not, they cared not, for her 
kings nor her heroes ; their thriftiest trader was 
their noblest man ; the holy seats of learning were 
but the cradles of superstition; the splendour of 


the aristocracy, but a leech that drew their " golden 
blood." The wealth, the learning, the glory of 
Britain, was to them nothing ; the having their 
own way every thing. 

Can any blame their wish to obtain it ? Can 
any lament that they succeeded ? 

And now the day was their own, what should 
they do next ? Their elders drew together, and 
said, " Let us make a government that shall suit 
us all ; let it be rude, and rough, and noisy ; let 
it not affect either dignity, glory, or splendour; let 
it interfere T\'ith no man's will, nor meddle with any 
man's business ; let us have neither tithes nor 
taxes, game laws, nor poor laws ; let every man 
have a hand in making the laws, and no man be 
troubled about keeping them ; let not our magis- 
trates wear pui*ple, nor our judges ermine ; if a 
man grow rich, let us take care that his grandson 
be poor, and then we shall all keep equal ; let every 
man take care of himself, and if England should 
come to bother us again, why then we will fight 

Could any thing be better imagined than such 
a government for a people so circumstanced ? Or 


is it strange that they are contented with it ? Still 
less is it strange that those who have lived in the 
repose of order, and felt secure that their country 
could go on very well, and its business proceed 
without their bawling and squalling, scratching 
and scrambling to help it, should bless the gods 
that they are not republicans. 

So far all is well. That they should prefer a 
constitution which suits them so admirably, to one 
which would not suit them at all, is surely no 
cause of quarrel on our part ; nor should it be such 
on theirs, if we feel no inclination to exchange the 
institutions which have made us what we are, for 
any other on the face of the earth. 

But w^hen a native of Europe visits America, a 
most extraordinary species of tyranny is set in 
action against him ; and as far as my reading and 
experience have enabled me to judge, it is such 
as no other country has ever exercised against 

The Frenchman visits England; he is aUme 

d' ennui at om* stately dinners ; shrugs his shoulders 

at our corps de ballet, and laughs a gorge deploy ee 

at our passion for driving, and our partial affection 

N 2 


for roast beef and plum pudding. The English- 
man returns the visit, and the first thing he does 
on arriving at Paris, is to hasten to le Theatre des 
Variefes, that he may see " Les Anglaises pour 
rire,^' and if among the crowd of laughers, you 
hear a note of more cordial mirth than the rest, 
seek out the person from whom it proceeds, and 
you will find the Englishman. 

The Italian comes to our green island, and 
o-roans at our climate ; he vows that the air which 
destroys a statue, cannot be wholesome for man ; 
he sighs for orange trees, and maccaroni, and 
smiles at the pretensions of a nation to poetry, 
while no epics are chaunted through her streets. 
Yet we welcome the sensitive southern, with all 
kindness, listen to his complaints wdtli interest, 
cultivate our little orange trees, and teach our 
children to lisp Tasso, in the hope of becoming 
more agreeable. 

Yet we are not at all superior to the rest of 
Europe in our endurance of censure, nor is this 
wish to profit by it, at all peculiar to the English ; 
we laugh at, and find fault with, our neighbours 
quite as freely as they do with us, and they join 



the laugh, and adopt our fashions and our customs. 
These mutual pleasantries produce no shadow of 
unkindly feeling ; and as long as the governments 
are at peace with each other, the individuals of 
every nation in Europe make it a matter of pride, 
as well as of pleasure, to meet each other fre- 
quently, to discuss, compare, and reason upon 
their national varieties, and to vote it a mark of 
fashion and good taste to imitate each other in all 
the external embellishments of life. 

The consequence of this is most pleasantly per- 
ceptible at the present time, in every capital of 
Europe. The long peace has given time for each 
to catch from each what was best in customs and 
manners, and the rapid advance of refinement 
and general information has been the result. 

To those who have been accustomed to this 
state of things, the conti'ast upon crossing to the 
new world is inconceivably annoying; and it can- 
not be doubted that this is one great cause of the 
general feeling of irksomeness, and fatigue of 
spirits, which hangs upon the memory while re- 
calling the hours passed in American society. 

A single word indicative of doubt, that any 


thing, or every thing, in that country is not the 
very best in the world, produces an effect which 
must be seen and felt to be understood. If the 
citizens of the United States were indeed the 
devoted patriots they call themselves, they would 
surely not thus encrust themselves in the hard, 
dry, stubborn persuasion, that they are the first 
and best of the human race, that nothing is to be 
leeu'nt, but what they are able to teach, and that 
nothing is worth having, which they do not 

The art of man could hardly discover a more 
effectual antidote to improvement, than this per- 
suasion ; and yet I never listened to any public 
oration, or read any work, professedly addressed 
to the country, in which they did not labour to 
impress it on the minds of the people. 

To hint to the generality of Americans that the 
silent current of events may change their beloved 
government, is not the way to please them ; but 
in truth they need be tormented with no such fear. 
As long as by common consent they can keep 
down the pre-eminence which nature has assigned 
to great powers, as long as they can prevent 


liiiman respect and human honour from resting 
upon high talent, gracious manners, and exalted 
station, so long may they be sure of going on as 
they are. 

T have been told, however, that there are some 
among them, who would gladly see a change; 
some, who with the wisdom of philosophers, and 
the fair candour of gentlemen, shrink from a pro- 
fession of equality which they feel to be untrue, 
and believe to be impossible. 

I can well believe that such there are, though 
to me no such opinions were communicated, and 
most truly should I rejoice to see power pass into 
such hands. 

Tf this ever happens, if refinement once creeps 
in among them, if they once leam to cling to the 
graces, the honours, the chivalry of life, then we 
shall say farewell to American equality, and wel- 
come to European fellowship one of the finest 
countries on the earth. 



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Will form Three Parts (25, 26, and 27) ; 



Will form about Sixteen Parts. The whole thus comprising about Forty Parts. 

It will be so arranged, for the convenience of those who may confine their 
Zoological studies to either of the Classes, that each Class will make a distinct 
work, as well as one of the Series of the " Animal Kingdom." The con- 
clusion will contain a Tabular View of the System, a Copious Index, and 
a general Terminology of the Science. 

The engraved Illustrations of this Work are in a superior style of execution, 
by different Artists of distinguislied eminence; and among the rest, many are 
by Mr. Landseer. Most of them are from original Drawings made from 
Nature, and several represent Species altogether new, or never figured before. 


" This is a valuable, or rather invaluable work. It brings the clear and simple classi- 
fication of Cuvier very fairly before the English reader, and it presents to the continental 
one, the results of observations which have of late been so largely made by our country- 
men in those parts of the world to which the learned of other countries have neither so 
frequent nor so free access; and much of which, in its original form, is widely scattered 
through as many volumes, chiefly upon other subjects, as would fill a large library. 

" Tlie Editors have been indefatigable. They have collected an astonishing number of 
new facts, and those they have put together in a manner so judicious, and clothed them 
in language so perspicuous, and so appropriate to the subjects, that, apart altogether from 
the nature of the work, as a perfect encyclop?edia of the science of those classes of ani- 
mals of which it gives the historj , it is an exceedingly aninsing book, and would have a 
just claim to popularity upon that ground alone, without reference to its higher qualities. 
This woik, therefore, in the best sense of the term, deserves to be popular, as it is cal- 
culated to entice those to read who need to be enticed even into the acquisition of knovv-- 
ledge, and to reward them for the labour, which is hardly fe^t to be such. The characteristics 
of tlie writings of the Baron Cuvier are well known to the scientific world ; clearness, 
conciseness, and a dignified simplicity, equally free from aiiected technicality of expres- 
sion, and from that haunting disposition to make speculations revolve round a favourite 
theory, which have so much detracted from the merit, or at least the general usefulness, 
of many authors, otherwise by no means deficient in valuable qualifications, — are the just 
praise of the ' Rdgne Animal,' and are here well sustained by the able translators. 

" It will be borne in mind, that Cuvier was the first that assigned man a proper place 
in the scale of animals — took him out of the society of the ape and the bat, to which he 
had been condemned by Linn?eus, whose arrangement of animals being wholly by the 
teeth, necessarily grouped together those which had few other qualities in common. On 
man, Cuvier is remarkably brief; but ample amends are made in the Supplement, by the 
Editors and Translators, where the more valuable parts of Campen, Blumenbach, So- 
emmering, Abernethy, and other eminent physiologists, are given, accompanied by 
remarks, condensed, but judicious, by Mr. Griffith and his coadjutors. 

" We have not room for many observations that suggest themselves in favour of this 
valuable work. Nothing can be more clear, more simple, or more modest, than the 
observations and conclusions throughout. Besides all that recommends them in the 
printed matter, these volumes abound with plates, from drawings by Landseer and others, 
and all executed with a spirit that well illustrates the valuable matter in the text. 

" We have confined our observations to the earlier parts of this work, as having the 
more general interest; but the last published, No. 1. of Reptilia, well sustains the high 
character of the preceding." — The Athenamm. 

" The Editors of this superior performance — certainly the best of the kind now in 
course of publication, beyond all comparison — prosecute their labours with unhalling dili- 
gence. The present fasciculus completes the Order of the Gallina?, and embraces, besides, 
nearly the whole of the Grallaa, or Wading Birds. Of the Gallina>, the most extended 
account is naturally that of the domestic cock and hen — so much better known as they 
are — in the course of which the very curious process of Egyptian mechanical hatching is 


minutely ckscribed, as is also, another matter equally curious, the mode of convtitint; the 
capon into a nurse, acconlins^ to Reaumur's sugi^estions, to accomplish tlie same purpose 
without the cruelty proviou;iiy practised. The elian;^e in the self bearing of tlie bird, on 
his becoming at;aiu of importance, though not aeconling to his original insiincl, is worth 

'• ' Instead of being melancholy, abashed, and humiliated, he assumes a bold, lofty, and 
triumphant air; and such is the influence of audacity over all animals, that this borrowed 
courage completely imposes on the cocks and hens, and prevents them from disturbing 
him in the fnllilment of his charge. At lirst he is a little awkward in the exercise of his 
office. His ambition of imitating, in his gait, the majesty and dignity of the cock, makes 
him carry his head too stiff", and prevents him from seeing the chickens, which he some- 
times thus inadvertently tramples under foot. But experience soon teaches him to avoid 
such mishaps, and accidents of the same kind do not occur again. As his voice is not 
so expressive as that of the hen, to engage the chickens to follow and assemble near him, 
this deticiency has been supplied by attaching a little bell to his neck. When he is once 
instructed to conduct chickens in this way, he always remains capable of doing it; or, at 
all events, it is very easy to bring him back to the habit of it when required, &c. The 
capon has also been taught to hatch eggs — every thing, indeed, except to lay them.' 

" The plates are excellent, and on a good scaie."— 3lont hi y Magazine. 

" We have more than once noticed this work in its progress towards completion, and 
bestowed our meed of praise on its conductors, for the judicious manner in which thty 
have blended interesting illustrations of the habits and nature of animals with the 
scientific system of Cuvier. Like all other sciences, /oology has its own peculiar 
phraseology ; which to the general reader presents notliing but a dry catalogue of hard 
names, while to the student of the science it furnishes the only means for systematising 
knowledge and classifying observations. The great advance which has been made in 
the study of natural history within the last few years, has been owing rather to the 
accuracy than to the extent of the information acquired by modern travellers : w hen once 
the distinctive marks of the different classes and orders have been determined, the chances 
of mistake are infinitely diminished ; we no longer meet w ith statements of anomalies 
and exceptions, but find that amid all variations and diversities there is a beautiful 
harmony in nature ; that there are invariable laws for the animate as well as the in- 
animate creation ; and that though within certain limits, there is room for many diver- 
sities, yet that those limits are never overpassed. The study of animated nature, always 
delightful, has thus acquired a new charm ; for, in addition to its inherent interest, it has 
obtained at once the certainty and simplicity which constitute so great a portion of the 
pleasure derived from the study of the physical sciences. In man, nature has displayed 
tiie powers of the brain and the nervous system; to beasts she has given muscular energy; 
to the winged tribes of air she has presented a powerful pulmonary apparatus; and to Ihe 
reptile kingdom she has assigned superior muscular contractility — whose results are ever 
the source of wonder and surprise. Each portion of zoological science has thus attrac- 
tions peculiarly its own: in the mammalia we admire the display of strength and 
muscular exertion, while we trace the grades of docility and intelligence which find their 
consummation in man : the varied plumage and the rich harmony of the birds irresistibly 
arrest our attention; but in the reptiles we have to wonder at the amazing diversity of 
their form.s, their wondrous tenacity of life, and, above all, their power of reproducing 
parts whose loss in other animals would be the certain termination of existence. It may 
well excite our astonishmeut, that there should be a common law of life to the alligator, 
the great terror of Southern America, and the harmless earthworm that we turn up in our 
fields; but it is no less true ; and ditterent as they are in outward form, it will be found 
that this general law produces a multitude of particular conformations, 'i'he structure and 
frame of the different classes of animals ever determine the laws of their existence ; and 
when the anatomist has discovered the relative power and deficiency of the several organs, 
the history of the animal's life is known. The organic conformation which distinguishes 
the reptile tribes, is clearly shewn in the work before us. 

" The present Number contains the order Chelonia (tortoises), and part of the Satiria 
(lizards and crocodiles). The former division is enlivened by a very interesting account 
of the establishments for breeding turtle, in the West Indies; but we cannot understand 
why the writer should suppose that such depots will lead to the destruction of these 
animals. Though civic banquets may at present consume more than can be reared in the 
turtle-grounds, and consequently cause these establishments to be rather feeding-stores than 
breeding-places, the opportunities they afford of closely observing the animal's habits and 
economy, must eventually lead to the formation of a good system for their regular pro- 
duction, and thus ensure the continued glory of civic dinners, and the luxurious gratifica- 
tion oi gourmands." — Literary Gazette. 

" This is part of a great work on Natural History, which we have long had it in con- 
templation to notice as its interest and importance deserves; but a constant recurrence 
of more temporary matter has prevented, and must still prevent us from fulfilling our 
wish for the present, in the meantime we may state, that tliis work of the illustrious 
Cuvier is commensurate in extent and value with the great reputation which its author 
enjoys throughout civilised Europe, and that it offers, for the first time, a completely 
intelligible, satisfactory, and available system of zoological knowledge — a system that 


even the splendid labours of Blumenb<icli and Linnseus left still a desideratum. The dis- 
tinctive difference between the arrangement of Linnaeus and that of Cuvier, is well 
explained in the following passage, from the Introduction to the English edition of his 
work : — 

" ' The first leading distinction between our author and Linn<cus is in the grand 
division of the animal world. These the Baron makes to rest on tlie nervous and sen- 
sorial, not on the circulatory and respiratory systems. From a profound study of the 
physiology of the natural classes of vertebrated animals, he discovered, in the respective 
quantity of respiration, the reason of the quantity or degree of motion, and consequently, 
the peculiar nature of that motion. This last gives rise to the peculiar form of their 
skeletons and muscles; and, with it, the energy of their sensations, and the force of 
their digestion, are in a necessary relation. Tluis, zoological arrangement, which had 
hitherto rested on observation alone, assumed in the hands of our illustrious author, for 
the first time, a truly scientific form. Calling in the aid of comparative anatomy, it 
involves propositions applicable to new cases ; it becomes a means of discovery, as well 
as a register of facts ; and by correct reasoning, founded on copious induction, it par- 
takes of the demonstration of mathematics, and the certainty of experimental knowledge ; 
in short, it becomes what it never was before, — a science.' 

" The piesent number (the 25th) forms Part I. of the class Reptilia, which it is pro- 
posed to complete in three parts. It contains seventeen plates, several of which are 
executed with much skill and spirit ; and the work is got up altogether in a manner 
highly creditable to the state of the arts and of the scientific literature among us in the 
present day; and, that it has already reached five-and-twenty twelve-shilling numbers, is 
no less creditable to the spirit of "encouragement which works of this nature receive 
among us. when prepared in a manner answerable to their interest and importance" — 
Court Journal. 

•' This class of the animal creation (Reptilia) is well worthy of notice, inasmuch as 
many of the subjects it includes are rarely seen in Europe. The first order is Chelonia, 
in which the Tortoise and Turtle are included. The second order, Sauria, includes the 
Crocodile, Alligator, and Lizard species. The descriptions are clear and explicit, and 
the work well supports its previous popularity, not falling off in the slightest degree from 
the early numbers. It is a most excellent book for Youth, to whom the study of Natural 
History is indispensable."— iV'eii) Monthly Magazine, Sept., 1830. 

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